I was a solo runner for a very long time. Just me and my iPod.
Then I literally ran into a group of friends while I was running alone. I ran a couple miles with them and headed back to where I had started on my own. I ran with them again a few weeks later. And the rest is history.
I can honestly say I have become a better runner because of my running buddies. I never would have ran my first 20 mile run without them. That was the confidence boost I needed to commit to my first marathon. Oh, I had been contemplating marathons for a while but hadn't made the leap yet. If I could run 20 miles when I really didn't need to, I was ready for a marathon.
We run at different paces, but we'll sometimes start together and then see each other along the way. We chat about anything and everything. The miles tick along. We ordered custom Bondi Bands with the name of our running group. Most of us ran a 10K wearing our Bondi Bands and the same pink tank top. We have a Facebook group and meet for dinner or breakfast (after long runs) every once in a while.
My running buddies motivate me to work hard and reach my goals. We commiserate with each others' challenges and celebrate each others' victories. That is priceless.