Nine years ago, Josh Janicek created the Circle C Run club, which has grown to more than 900 members.

Ten years ago Josh Janicek was overweight and out of shape. But he made a decision that would change his life. First he changed his diet, opting for more healthy choices. Then he got on his bike and rode eight miles, pushing through some hip pain in the process. But it wasn’t until he stepped onto a middle-school track the next day and attempted to run a mile that his journey of becoming a runner began.

“I pushed myself hard in that mile,” said Janicek. “I remember getting starry tunnel vision in the last 300 meters and damn near collapsed after I hit one mile.”

Though it was tough, Janicek persisted, taking it slowly and understanding that it was a learning process. “I decided that I would teach myself how to run. I would take my time and I would train so I could learn to run longer distances and gradually increase my speed,” he said.

The plan worked and then some. Today, Janicek, 47, is one of Austin’s top masters runners and  boasts a 2:56:45 marathon best at the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2020. And last November, he placed third in the Run for the Water 10 Miler in 1:02:48 and then ran a 1:19:33 half marathon, which placed him second in his age group at the highly competitive 3M Half this past January.

“I actually won the Austin Distance Challenge, said Janicek. “Initially I was thinking I’d just win my age group. But once it got going, I decided to win the whole thing.”

But that’s not all. Running has played a pivotal role in Janicek’s life in general. Nine years ago, he created the Circle C Run club, which has grown to more than 900 members. And just last week. After many years in account management and sales, he accepted a new position as Membership & Community Development Manager with Marathon Kids/Austin Runners Club.

“I really wanted to do something with running. That’s where my heart is,” said Janicek.

“At ARC I am focusing on supporting and growing the membership base as well as the community at large,” he said. “ARC is looking to become a central hub for runners. A lot of people don’t know that there are membership tiers to accommodate any kind of runner. Plus we offer affiliated running groups.

Janicek continues to stress that his running journey is a learning process.

“I didn’t start running until I was 37, so I didn’t have the experience of running in college or anything, So I started learning about different workouts, strategies, approaches. Also, Helping other people is a learning process. As I started running more it was always a new experience. I’d go out and run and think about everything or nothing.

“Running is transformative,” he added. “I know it transformed me. I want to share it. I think it makes people more selfless.”

Upcoming Races: Saturday August 12 at 7:30 a.m., Michelle’s Hot Peeps Beat CC 5K at Murphy Park in Taylor. Saturday August 12 at 8:00 a.m., the Purple Reign Rattler Run 5K at San Marcos High School. Sunday, August 13 at 7:00 a.m., the Summer Sizzler 1 Mile, 5K, 10K and 15K. by the Kohls in Sunset Valley. Saturday August 19 at 7:30 a.m., Off to the Races 5K at Sunfield Elementary School in Buda.