SU Run Club offers training routes for all runners
Eight students in multicolored sneakers gathered on the lawn in front of Henderson Gym before running together towards Old Main, beginning their twice weekly group run around campus.
The new SU run club meets every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. and every Friday at noon to run a set route.
“I have a map that is highlighted, and we take the same loop every time so there is consistency,” said Jen Reedy, the Coalition for Campus Outreadh (CCO) campus minister who started the club. Reedy said she started the club because she enjoyed the run club while she was in school and saw a need for it at SU.
“I saw how people grew in the atmosphere of making friends, so I wanted to create the same atmosphere on this campus,” Reedy said.
The club is open to runners of any ability.
“I want it to be an atmosphere of anyone being welcome as far as if you want to walk, jog, sprint, run whatever you want to do,” Reedy said.
The club has alternate routes to suit the ability of the runners.
“There’s three different ways that you can take the course. The first one is a 2.6 mile loop and then you can cut it short to two miles and then there’s a one mile route,” Reedy said.
Reedy is planning on keeping the club going all year, regardless of weather.
“For healthy living, we need to exercise anyway so why not be consistent with the group?” Reedy said.
Kristen Skaugen, instructor of exercise science at SU agreed that it is important to keep the momentum going year-round.
“I think it’s beneficial to get people involved and to keep people involved,” Skaugen said.
The group mentality of the club helps runners to enjoy exercising and stay motivated.
“I’ve seen running in a group allow people to have more fun and the atmosphere of being in a group makes it go quicker, you have more fun and there’s more accountability,” Reedy said.
Club member Sarah Franssen said the group helps her to stay motivated to exercise.“I just like the idea of running in a group because you motivate each other along the way, talk to each other, and it really doesn’t seem that bad” Franssen said.
“You feel like you have that commitment. Even though you can come and go as you please, you kind of feel like ‘oh ok, well they’ll be there, so I guess I need to go too,’” Skaugen said.
Running continues to grow as a popular form of exercise. In the last year, the number of people in the U.S. who run six days a week increased by 9 percent, according to a survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association. Running as a group activity also seems to be gaining popularity in the U.S.
An ad campaign by New Balance called “Runnovation” promotes running as a social activity. One ad shows four women running at night.
“Redefine girls’ night out,” the ad reads, “Boston MA. Thursday night. 9:15. Some go out. Others go out and make excellent happen. The night is yours. This is Runnovation.”
The November Project is a free exercise club that started in Boston has cultivated a team of over one hundred members and three additional chapters according to the project’s webpage. The group meets three days a week at 6:30 a.m. all year, regardless of weather.
There is no shortage of reasons to start running.
Running is helpful for preventing heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the US Center for Disease Control. Runners’ blood vessels expand and contract, maintaining their elasticity, which helps to lower blood pressure. Consistent running also strengthens the heart, an article from Vanderbilt University reported.
Weight loss is another benefit to running, allowing a runner to shed up to 100 calories per mile, according to an article from Vanderbilt University.
“Running is fantastic exercise,” Skaugen said. “Because you’re using really big muscle groups and moving your whole body. So you’re burning quite a few calories compared to maybe something else that not your whole body’s involved.”
Consistent running aids in stress management. Exercise increases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain called endorphins, producing a calming affect that is often referred to as a runner’s high, according to the Mayo Clinic online.
Members of the SU run club report on this phenomenon.
“Running gets your mind off things and school and life and just makes you focus on your running,” said run club member Sherwood Hunter.