Back in December, Mike and I were excited to find a weekly run club close to our apartment in Cary, NC. Sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of NC, the run club meets at the new-ish Fortnight Brewery at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays. The Cary Greenways “close” at dusk so the winter route is a 4-mile run through downtown Cary. Since the route is an out-and-back, runners can turn around at any point to shorten the distance. Spring/summer/fall routes include the Greenway trails, with an entrance right by the brewery.
The run club’s active Facebook page encourages runners to wear reflective clothing, lights and headlamps during winter months. Although Mike and I didn’t have headlamps or even lights for the first couple of weeks, we ran close to others with headlamps the first week and didn’t have a problem. The second week, we started using the flashlight on our iPhones to light the dark area at the beginning and end of the 4 mile out-and-back route. Other than the dark areas near the brewery, the rest of the route is well lit and on sidewalks through downtown Cary.
We were surprised at how small the club seemed our first few weeks running. There were only 5-10 people each week during December, despite the 400 members of the Facebook group. Because of that though, we were able to get to know the other runners. Since January, the run club has attracted many more runners, maybe between 25 and 40, and growing each week. I imagine the group will get much bigger in the spring with warmer weather and more daylight.
Another surprising thing, to me, is that there are many very fast runners! We’ve found all run clubs to be different; some are more social during the run and some are more social before or after the runs and that affects the pace. Since we didn’t know the route the first week, we tried to stay close to the run club organizer and a few others running with him. They were fast! Our average pace was 7:46 for our first Blue Run Club, followed by 7:47, 7:17 and 7:19! As the club has grown over the past few weeks, there are more groups of runners with varying paces and distances. But if you want to work on your speed and run with some fast runners, you’ll find them at Blue Run Club.
All Blue Run Club runners are issued a photo ID during their first run. The organizer takes your photo and prints your card in a matter of minutes. He scans your card each week you run, keeping track of your runs so you can earn rewards! After five runs, men get a tech t-shirt and women get either a tech t-shirt or a singlet. I chose the New Balance brand singlet and love it – my first singlet! Another shirt is earned after 50 runs but there are also other incentives based on the number of runs completed.
When Mike and I joined the Blue Run Club on December 17th, Fortnight was just beginning their 7:30 pm trivia nights. We joined a team with some other runners and came in second place for the $50 gift card prize. We’ve played trivia a few other times since then but sometimes we’re starving and want to get home for dinner (or Chick-fil-A drive-thru). A food truck was at Fortnight on one occasion and Fortnight is trying to get one out on a weekly basis for trivia. We’ve also seen people order pizza delivered to the brewery during trivia nights. Most runners seem to stay for trivia; it’s a good way to get to know other runners better.
Mike and I really enjoy Blue Run Club and have met some great people through it. Runners are very welcoming and friendly; there’s a range of ages, paces and experience, especially now with a larger weekly turnout. In addition, it’s great to have incentives to keep going, not just for the swag, but knowing you’ll see friends each week and be rewarded post run with beer and a fun game of trivia.