Ashley Davies

All Paces, All Faces with Club Seattle Runners Division

“I'm someone who hasn't always felt comfortable in movement spaces,” says Ashley Davies, who co-founded Club Seattle Runner’s Division (CSRD) together with Miran McCash and David Jaewon Oh. Now in its sixth year, CSRD has an active community of around 300 members on Heylo, with about 100 people who show up to any given run.

It’s because she didn’t always feel comfortable working out with other people that Ashley places so much importance on making sure every member of CSRD feels welcome.

" I want people to come and feel seen no matter what stage they’re at on their running journey, what body they live in, however they identify themselves, "

Ashley Davies, Co-Founder, CSRD

As a teenager, Ashley says she mostly exercised alone. “Group exercise [would] cause me a lot of stress,” she says. “The thought of being judged about my fitness level, about my body size—I think those are probably the big things.”

Ashley overcame those anxieties and, in high school, joined the cross-country team. But she says she didn’t have a great experience there, either. Still, she managed to turn the episode into a fantastic learning experience—and to take those lessons with her to CSRD. High school cross-country prompted Ashley to ask herself, “How do I create better team experiences for people?”

The answer she came up with had to do, at least partly, with creating a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for all members.

" Our group is social community before anything else,” Ashley says, adding, “essentially, it's a social group that gets together to move together. "

Ashley Davies, Co-Founder, CSRD

That’s what makes CSRD unique, Ashley says. “People at any stage of their run/walk journey are welcome to join us.”

Ashley likes to take an honest and straightforward approach with her members. Before the group got as big as it is now, she says, if someone said they were planning to walk, she couldn’t always guarantee they’d have someone to walk with—so she’d tell them that. “We don’t want people to come and feel like, ‘Oh, this wasn't what I expected, I didn't feel like this was the environment that I needed to feel supported,’ right?” she says.

“But then on the other hand, in those instances, it could also be a situation of, ‘Hey, we have someone coming, they're walking, we don't have another walk buddy for them, anyone interested in walking instead?’”

That care and support for all members is likely what has contributed to CSRD’s popularity and growth. Ashley says she hopes to carry that forward into the future.

"Our constant goal each and every year is just to continue to show up in a big way within our city,” she says.

“We also think about our responsibility as one to help support moving the entirety of the running community in Seattle to a place that is more inclusive. "

Ashley Davies, Co-Founder, CSRD