Podcast gives Omaha-metro runners a voice

Now a podcast carries the number in its title, “Run 402: the Podcast”
A young woman who loves to run and hear great stories, combining the two into a podcast that's blowing up.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The “402″ represents the metro area code. It’s also the name of a local running club. Now a podcast carries the number in its title, “Run 402: the Podcast.”

It’s Sarah Johnson’s way to share the story of every runner in the metro.

”We just hit 1,000 plays, which is unbelievable,” Johnson said. “We just started June 1 and are just super excited people in Omaha and Lincoln are listening and tuning in.”

There’s even been one download from central Europe.

“Someone from Poland tuned in,” she laughed. “So less than 1% of our listeners are from Poland, but we do have Poland on the map.”

Her genuine laughter and honest curiosity have made this grassroots runner’s conversation a low-tech hit.

“When I started, I didn’t think anyone would listen, I didn’t invest in a microphone, I just used my iPhone 13,” she said. “We were lucky enough to be gifted a microphone by a friend, an original member of Greater Omaha Trail Runnerz, so look for that in our next few episodes, a little higher sound quality.”

The 28-year-old’s passion for running, plus jobs at Trader Joe’s and Peak Performance, doesn’t leave a lot of solo time. So when fellow runner Joe Kilzer told her he wanted to do a podcast, she invited him to co-host.

“I don’t even know if I could say that there’s a favorite guest, what I like is all the different stories,” Kilzer said. “I had John Ritland on the other day who’s 71 years old and had a knee replacement surgery two years ago and he’s done eight marathons since.”

So far, one of the most popular episodes features Joe’s interview with Omaha Running Club Hall of Famer Christy Nielsen.

“I’m not as fast as I used to be, so I can’t affect people in that way as much anymore,” Nielsen said on the podcast. “But I just want to help them and inspire them and just pass on knowledge to as many people as I can.”

”Hopefully it spreads the word about all the things with running going on in the local area,” Kilzer said. “I think people listen to it, and find inspiration in it and find a little bit of happiness and (if that) pushes them a little bit more, then I think we’re succeeding.”

”People who reach out to me telling me their story, its great because I spend a half an hour getting to know them and then record a conversation,” Johnson said. “I thought I knew all the runners around, but it’s mind-blowing big and how strongly knit our communities, too.”

She’s happy the community she connected with a few years ago is now finding a voice through the podcast.

“When I first moved to Omaha, I moved here for a job, I didn’t have any friends,” Johnson said. “I started showing up to run groups and found these run groups on Facebook, and I saw how big our running community is, and I made a bunch of friends and I just wanted to connect more people because I had such a positive experience I wanted to keep it going.”

There are currently 17 episodes of the podcast, available on Spotify, and she hopes to have them available on other platforms in the future.

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