The idea for Sunrise Track Club came to founder Becca Wells in the fall of 2021 while she was training for the Zilker Relays. Wanting to get back on the track and start getting some speed work in, she began training with the three other girls on her relay team and then started inviting other friends to join them. One day, she jokingly called the group Sunrise Track Club because they were meeting at six a.m. and getting the best sunrise views over Austin High School, but the name stuck. She made an Instagram for the group, and within a year, there were 40-60 people showing up regularly each week. Training for the Zilker Relays is what kickstarted her desire to get back on the track, but before that, Becca was a high school track runner who also briefly ran in college and continued to run for fun afterward.
One of her most influential memories around running is from high school, where they'd only ever had male coaches on the track team until her senior year when her female Spanish teacher joined the coaching staff. She distinctly remembers this new coach standing on the corner during one of her biggest races that year, yelling to her that with 600 meters to go, she needed to pick it up and make a move. Becca recalls thinking that she was crazy, that there was no way she could make a move that early and hang on, but she kept telling her to go and that she had what it took to do it. “So I did it, and it was the fastest mile race of my life and got me to states! What really stuck with me is that she not only believed in me but helped me build the capacity within myself to be confident in my abilities. She was positive, supportive, and made hard workouts fun! This is something I try to emulate for those who come to Sunrise Track Club.”
Born in San Francisco, Becca moved to London with her family at age three. When she entered first grade, they moved to New Jersey, where she lived until she went to Elon University in North Carolina for college. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. At Elon University, she got her degree in Elementary Education and then a Master's in Special Education. After six years of teaching in North Carolina, she was ready for a change and got a job teaching kindergarten in Austin. Though she moved here without knowing anyone, she says it has proved to be one of the best decisions she ever made. She taught in Lake Travis for six years and after a collective twelve years of teaching, decided she wanted to use her leadership skills and knowledge to impact change and education in a new way and has now been an Educational Partner in Eanes ISD for three years. It was during this transition from teacher to instructional coach that Sunrise Track Club was also formed. As an educator, her skills for organizing groups, planning events, and building relationships and a positive culture are parts of what helped her build the group.
When she relocated to Austin, the large, local running community inspired her to start training more seriously again. This led her to connect with RAW Running, where she met some of her closest friends, many of whom also participate in Sunrise Track Club. However, one of the things she noticed after moving was that Austin had a lot of fantastic running groups but very few that did track-specific workouts, which is what Sunrise Track Club is all about. It draws people with a large variety of abilities, all working towards their own personal goals; “One of my favorite things about Sunrise is the community and that because the track is a circle, no one gets left behind!”
One of the most significant things she’s learned from Sunrise Track Club is the importance of community. “Surrounding yourself with people who share a similar passion to you is very inspiring! Over time, I have learned that leadership is about leaning into the power of community. Together, you can accomplish so much more than individually. Having started Sunrise by myself, I have learned that it is okay to ask for help and lean on others for support.” This sentiment and her roles in education and as the founder of Sunrise Track Club also taught her that sometimes you have to "be like a duck and let it roll off." She shared with us that she often used to struggle with a constant feeling of needing everyone to like her to feel successful or good at her job, going on to say she has come to realize that “everyone isn't going to like you or the decisions you make, and sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions because that is what is best for the collective group. I have learned not to take everything personally and to effectively communicate the why behind any big decisions.”
With a mantra of “Good Vibes Only”, Becca’s priority is to preserve the culture of the group as Sunrise continues to grow. “One of my favorite things about Sunrise is the inclusivity, everyone and all paces are welcome, and the sense of support for one another. The Sunrise community rallies around each other when needed, and everyone always keeps the vibes high!”
Want to become a part of the growing community? Sunrise Track Club meets at 6 a.m. on Thursdays at Austin High School.