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Thinking about starting a running club. What is involved? (Read 196 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    An area running acquaintance and I had a conversation awhile back about starting a running club.  Just one.  I'm not sure if he's thought much about it since (we don't talk that often, that's why he's just an "acquaintance"), but I have.  I don't encounter many other runners on my routes, but I know there are some out there, and I bet there are some that would get into running more if there were some organization to it.

     

    What is involved in starting and maintaining something like that, though?  My schedule is pretty full as-is, especially in the midst of a marathon training cycle.  I know we'd need to do the following:

     

    1. Set up a web presence of some sort.

    2. Set a time and place for group runs.

    3. Possibly set out water, etc. for those runs (depending on the length).

     

    ...and that about does it for things I know we'd need to do.  And, regarding point #2...how does it work with the different levels of runners?  I know if we started this, we'd definitely have a mix of experienced marathon runners (some on a training plan), probably a few high school cross-country runners, and some that are still working on running one mile without stopping, along with everything in between.  Not to mention the different paces everyone would be at.  Logistically, how would you organize group runs that serve everybody, if there are only a couple of "leaders?"

     

    Obviously, I've never been in a running club.  Could some of you that have, or that have started one in the past, offer some guidance?

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

    FSocks


    Gramps

      I'd check high and low for current running clubs in your area first.  You're in Dallas if I remember correctly so there's got to be some local clubs already.  That doesn't mean there isn't a need for another but I'd sure check out the landscape first before doing something like that.

      Running is dumb. 

      MJ5


      Chief Unicorn Officer

        I'm involved with a recently organized running club. It depends how involved you want to be--our club is incorporated as a nonprofit, we have a membership fee and bank accounts, we have filed articles of incorporation.  We have group runs, and our club in insured so if someone gets hit by a car or something and sues the club, we're covered.

        As far as our actual group runs, we don't put water out or anything. On our Facebook page we make it pretty clear that you bring your own water or snacks, and it's for people of all speeds and distances. It kinds of seems inevitable that someone ends up running alone out of our group of about 20 people that we get but it doesn't seem to bother anyone. we meet together at a local park and our president chooses a route for everyone to run that can accommodate people running up to like 15 miles (shorter mileage runners can do a straight turnaround or cut off a loop). Sometimes he will go out and give us a few of the mile markers for those who don't have a Garmin. Most of us wait at the end to socialize and wait for everyone to finish so people don't feel left out.

        Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54

          Here are some Dallas area clubs.

           

          I'd probably join a club before deciding whether to start a new club.

           

          Here in New England we are fortunate to have an incredibly active running club scene. I am a member of one club and have been a member of a couple of others in the past. I also have a group of guys that I train with from my town where between the 6 of us we belong to 3 different running clubs but we do a lot of our training together. We've occasionally talked about just formalizing into a running club and registering with USATF etc, but we never follow through since most of us wouldn't leave our current clubs for grand-prix scoring anyway.

          Runners run.

            I'm not in a running club, per se.  But I have a group of people locally that run together pretty regularly.  The group predates me, but it was as simple as "Every week, we run at 5:00 on Tuesday from the Y".  It could start with as few as two people.  Then you run into other runners and have a conversation and invite them to the Tuesday run.  Over time, more people come and you get to know each other.  So it's not anything formal, but it works just the same.  The key is that there is one run per week that is more or less set in stone.  Christmas this year was the first time I remember no one showing up, and I briefly considered doing so simply to keep the streak alive.

             

            In the winter there may only be 5-7 of us that show.  In the summer, it's up to 20.

             

            We used to send out emails for other group runs, but now most of us are on RA and have our own group.  We have a thread called "Group runs", so someone can post a Sunday run or other run and whoever can make it comes.  Sometimes we plant water, sometimes not.  Sometimes on the weekends we run from somebody's house and they are nice enough to host a post run spread.

             

            We don't worry too much about the pace issue.  It's understood that we start together.  Usually we stay sort of together for a bit, then everyone sort of spreads out.  About the only "rule" is that no one is left completely alone at the back.  Ifr there's someone new, we take turns being the person that stays with that person.  It usually only takes a few months for someone to keep up.

             

            Anyway, this method is informal and works for us.  It doesn't have to be a "running club".

             

              Point #2:

              It is "encouraged" that all runners be able to run 3 miles non-stop (our shortest route) before joining the club I run with. There is quite a range of paces and we even have some walkers.  There are generally 5-10 people per run, but people rarely end up running alone (unless they want to). We just naturally break into groups along the way and some people run a bit faster/slower than they're used to, but it's not a big deal. People who want to run longer distances generally show up early to get their extra mileage in and join us along the route. If enough people are training for a half or full, then a longer course will be planned out for them. Afterwards, we all wait around in the lot for everyone else to finish and then get breakfast and coffee together.

               

              Point #3:

              I know water stops are offered for long runs during the summer months. Since all the routes are local, I *think* the stations are near people's homes and are manned by family members. Runners can volunteer to man a station and then you get points towards our year long running contest. I haven't run with them over the summer, yet, so I could be wrong.

               

               

              I agree with others that it might be good to join a club first to get an idea of how they work. You could also try starting a group on Meetup and see where that takes you.

              5k - 25:15 (11/18/12)

              10mi - 1:33:18 (3/2/14)

              HM - 2:06:12 (3/24/13)

               

              Upcoming Races:

              3/1/15 - Reston 10 Miler

              3/19/15 - Reston HM

              10/17/15 - Baltimore HM

               

              Everything you need is already inside. [[Bill Bowerman]]


              just a simple cat

                I'd start here:

                http://www.rrca.org/

                 

                And see what info you get from them.  Plus if your club is affliated with RoadRunners Clubs of America you can get insurance coverage for members while running with your group.

                 

                Running is stupid


                Hobby Jogger Especial!

                  I think it depends on what you're trying to do.

                   

                  I belong to a running club thats really just a group of people that like to run. We created a facebook page and three of us are administrators on the page. We put upcoming runs and races on there as well as pictures from runs and races. There is also a weekly running club e-mail that goes out.

                   

                  We have a standard Saturday morning run and various other runs depending on the time of year. We ocasionally do "Odyssey" runs, which are usually off road runs we have to drive a few miles to get there. One of the members' spouse will usually provide support for us during those runs.

                   

                  We don't have dues, and don't have any expenses. We had shirts made and sold them at cost.

                   

                  As far as different running paces, we meet on Saturday mornings and chat/start out together. Everyone just runs their own pace and some start out together and take a different route. Its really just a way to socialize and have some motivation to get out there. 99.9% of the time, I meet up with the group and end up running by yourself because I'm really slow (my nickname is "The Sweeper").

                    This is what one of the groups I'm in is like.  There's like ~150 in the Facebook group.  We post Saturday or Sunday long runs and people show up.  It's generally understood that no one runs alone unless they want to (e.g., someone wants to run faster than others can hang with).  If there's slower runners, someone always hangs with them.  It just kind of happens organically.

                     

                    Most of these weekend runs are "destination" ones, 5-45 minutes away depending on where the member lives.  Might be a trail run, a metropark run, or something like "Meet at the base of the ski resort."

                     

                    We have shirts made and sold at cost.

                     

                    It's great for local races because we can have a pretty solid contingent, and it's fun to race with (or against) people you know.

                     

                    I think it depends on what you're trying to do.

                     

                    I belong to a running club thats really just a group of people that like to run. We created a facebook page and three of us are administrators on the page. We put upcoming runs and races on there as well as pictures from runs and races. There is also a weekly running club e-mail that goes out.

                     

                    We have a standard Saturday morning run and various other runs depending on the time of year. We ocasionally do "Odyssey" runs, which are usually off road runs we have to drive a few miles to get there. One of the members' spouse will usually provide support for us during those runs.

                     

                    We don't have dues, and don't have any expenses. We had shirts made and sold them at cost.

                     

                    As far as different running paces, we meet on Saturday mornings and chat/start out together. Everyone just runs their own pace and some start out together and take a different route. Its really just a way to socialize and have some motivation to get out there. 99.9% of the time, I meet up with the group and end up running by yourself because I'm really slow (my nickname is "The Sweeper").

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek

                      I agree with joining a running club first to get a feel for what all is involved.   Depends on what you want as well.  There are "running clubs" where a few folks get together and run each weekend and the etc, and then there are "running clubs" which have much more going on.  I'lll use the Running Club I belong to as an example, Tidewater Striders.   There are over a dozen board members needed in order for the club to function, the number of members is in the thousands, and the associated financial accounts run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  They hold banquets, give out scholarships, have a team of youth coaches and a youh team, they run dozens of races a year....

                       

                      So again, I think it depends on what you want to do with the running club.  Do you want just a group of folks who run and motivate each other, etc, or a very large running club that includes a philanthropic mission as well, etc?  Something inbetween?

                       

                      Main point:  I think joining a running club first is step #1.  I personally only joined in April of last year, but wondering why I did not sooner. You will learn a whole lot from being in a running club.  Also, many folks who start running clubs of their own have been a board member on a previous running club and have that deep level of involvement and experience before they start their own.

                      .

                      The Plan (big parts)→  /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer (PR 80 Miles) ///  Nov:  New York Marathon  ///  Dec:  Seashore State Park 50K  ///  ∞

                        In 2009 and 2010, we had a group of runners that trained together for races in DFW.

                        Many others join the Dallas Running Club or the White Rock Running Club, but those clubs are too far away (20+ miles from our Flower Mound suburb).

                        (Our routes were all titled "Tour de FloMo", and coming up with the name was my main contribution to the group).

                        Our group was boutique in that we only had the basics.  We went over the "Who, What, Where, When, and Why" every week through email / text messages, and then met up to train together.

                        We bought jerseys and wear them / wore them at races we entered. (MTA: in fact, my profile picture to the left is the jersey we use and was designed by one of our running partners... we have a running jersey, this bike jersey, as well as a triathlon jersey that all have the same basic design).

                        We never established a club, and I don't believe that any of us have ever joined a club since then.

                        We all knew the area well enough to understand the routes provided, and we waited around at the end of the run for the last person to arrive.  For long runs, we'd drop off water bottles at certain intersections before the run for us to pick up if needed.

                        We still run together and see each other frequently, but we decided that we no longer needed the "Who, What, Where, When and Why" emails to keep the friendship going and our activity going.

                        FWIW, everybody in our group was from our church or were invited by people from our church and there were about 15 - 20 on a good weekend, and as few as 5 on other weekends.

                        2014 Goals:

                        #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                        #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                         

                        mab411


                        Proboscis Colossus

                          Cool, thanks for the input, everyone!

                           

                          I'm actually not in Dallas...I may have given that impression at some point because I ran the White Rock M MetroPCS Dallas Marathon and might have referenced it being "in my back yard," but I'm about an hour-and-a-half east, near Tyler.

                           

                          Tyler does have a club or two, I believe, but I'm not near enough for it to be really feasible to participate.  It's about 45 mins. away.  There are, to my knowledge, no clubs active nearer than that, and that's why that acquaintance of mine and I were talking about starting one up.

                           

                          Anyway, thanks again for the input thus far!  It helps!

                          "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                          ilanarama


                          Hi, Mom!

                            I agree with looking into affiliating with RRCA.  Also, talk with local businesses about perks.  Our club membership ($15/year) gives us discounts at the local running store as well as $1 off draft beer at three of our local brewpubs.  That is a powerful incentive to join!

                            PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

                            Last: Dead Horse 50K 10/18: 5:58 | Next: Turkey Trot?

                            bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              I'm in a couple clubs, and there are various functions that go on -- as someone explained, it can go up to the level of board members and significant budgets.

                               

                              Frankly, I thought L Train's post was a pretty good idea. Try setting up something really simple for group runs, if that is your primary interest, and see how that goes. You can always call it a "running club" and explain that it is just some group runs being tried out, for now.

                               

                              I don't think there's much need or incentive to look at the organizational stuff until you have more people involved, and then if you're inspired to look at more organization (eg, forming an actual club), you can see who is interested, and discuss what the purpose would be - which will help guide you -- more importantly, guide the actual people involved with forming the club -- as to what to set up and how much to try to accomplish. And what to do about funding.

                              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                              YAYpril - B-Plus

                                I'm part of a very informal running group (I won't even call it a club). We have a Facebook page but that's really only used to communicate where we're going to run. There are no dues, no fees, just a bunch of people meeting every Saturday morning to run and then we go to breakfast afterward. We always go to trails/rail trails/towpaths and do out and backs, so we just buddy up with people who are around our pace. The only caveat is that if you want to go to breakfast, you need to be done by 8:30 because that's when we leave.

                                 

                                It's great. I love that it's as informal as it is, and I've made some really good friends through it.

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