The story of the creation of my forum actually involves two other websites.
The first website used to have a forum specifically for people like myself (competitive runners), along with other categories for beginners, health oriented runners, etc. In 1998, they canned the forum for competitive runners and that segment of visitors didn't feel comfortable in the other forums at that site. At the time, someone else (thankfully, as I didn't have the resources at the time) stepped up to start a forum replacing the missing one. In 1999, his site risked going offline, so I offered my site as a home to the forum. As it turned out, his site did no go offline and I believe is still running today. However, once the forum software was installed, I figured there was no use in taking it offline so I started my own forum in the interest of sharing knowledge, letting visitors help each other out, and sharing camaraderie. Website related goals involved getting more repeat traffic and a base of loyal visitors.
I think all my goals were accomplished. I wouldn't call my site a high traffic site but I think it's respectable and it pulls in a lot more people than it did before I had any forums. Most importantly, there is a great base of regular visitors who are all online (and some offline) friends and offer good advice when a new person stops by with a question.