Walk out your door any day in most corners of Charleston and you’ll see someone doing a jog. And at least six days a week, local runners meet in at least 10 different organized running groups, ranging from serious practice runs to a few drinks after running a few miles around a brewery.
Locals join Charleston area clubs and management groups for a multitude of reasons, but the majority show up every week for two main reasons: accountability and social interaction.
“When you bring more people together, everyone encourages everyone,” said Steve Griffin, who runs the Jimp Running Club. “And sometimes when I run alone I can convince myself to cut it short.”
Charleston’s weekly running group cadence allows runners to get into a routine, and for most groups, signing up is as easy as showing up.
Several local groups like the Park Circle Pacers cater to all types of runners by running races of different formats on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays each week. Pacers co-founder Virginia Clauser calls the kid-friendly and pet-friendly 1-mile or 5-mile “Thirstday” excursion that begins and ends at Commonhouse Aleworks as a “fun social run”.
“A big part of the reason I go to clubs is for the social aspect,” said Erin Atkinson, a College of Charleston graduate who runs regularly with the Pacers on Thursday nights. “Especially since the pandemic, I’ve been working from home, so it’s kind of nice to get out of the house and see people’s faces.”
You don’t need to register to join a Pacers race, but the Commonhouse Group sponsorship offers members who pay an annual fee of $ 25 with shirts and reduced rates on local races, a focal point for members. who attend the two other group races – a track practice on Tuesday and a long race on Sunday morning.
“This is actually one of our most popular races right now,” said Clauser, referring to the 5 and 8 mile sessions on Sunday. “It comes down to why we created the running club – misery loves company. By offering these three weekly races, we are giving everyone the chance to come run with someone.
Fleet Feet also offers runs for people with different goals in mind, said Amy Minkel, who owns the three local running store locations in Mount Pleasant, Summerville and Carnes Crossroads.
“Since the time we opened our first location in the Charleston area eight years ago, we’ve had a running club from the start, from people just looking to get up from the couch to those working out. for marathons, ”she said.
Runners can show up at all three Fleet Feet locations on Monday nights for a 3- or 5-mile run, and this fall the store’s “Fall Pub Run Series” will feature routes that start and end at specific locations like Holy City Brewing, the location for the next 3-mile pub race on September 29. Plus, those looking to train longer distances like the Bridge Run can get special training programs for $ 115 (including running fees).
“If there’s a local race that we can encourage them to participate in, that’s usually what we do. It’s another way of having that responsibility as well, ”said Minkel, who uses local experts to create the programs. “For the bridge race, everyone usually trains for a 10k. It’s just a great way for us to support such a great local race.
Like pub races, many local group races end with a beer or cocktail shared with other runners, adding a social element to the exercise. The Charleston Beer Runners start at Hampton Park before ending at a different bar or brewery each week, while breweries like Frothy Beard, Low Tide, and Estuary Beans & Barley run their own runs.
For runs that end with a cold beer, be sure to pack plenty of water, and some may want to consider bringing a spare shirt for changing (this City paper the writer recalls a sultry outing with Charleston Beer Runners that ended at the Faculty Lounge).
A little sweat didn’t stop Amy Embry from meeting her future husband, Aaron, at Taco Boy after meeting the Charleston Beer Runners in 2017. Amy, a member of the OG group of the 7-year-old group, says joining “was one of the best things I have ever done “.
“[Aaron] started running with us every week and then offered me for a run, ”recalls Amy. “I think back then there were maybe 10-15 people in the squad – other than that I’ve never been in a racing squad before. I was a very shy person. I didn’t like running.
Now married, the couple still attend the Charleston Beer Runners regularly, and Aaron works as a resource person for the group’s cultural and community initiatives. He says CBR is making a concerted effort to make the band a place for everyone.
“Because running is so community driven, I think running groups need to make sure they’re diverse and inclusive,” he said. “It’s all about community, and it’s about building each other up. “
The local running community has, of course, been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Griffin, who has yet to restart Jimp, who normally runs a 5-mile route that begins at the Aquarium parking lot.
For now, Griffin is meeting with a group of four at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Colonial Lake. They walk the bridge once a week and Griffin plans to complete the Bridge Run. He can’t wait to reboot Jim when the time is right.
“It was always fun meeting new people. Every time we met we never knew who was showing up, so it was always good to introduce them to Charleston running, ”he said. “I miss it for sure.”
Charleston area running clubs
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m.
This new group meets three times a week at a location disclosed the day before the race. Follow the strangers! on Instagram @ outsiders.charleston.
Mondays and Wednesdays, 5 p.m.
When the group starts up again on Monday and Wednesday, it will meet in the Aquarium parking lot.
Fleet Feet Running Club
Monday, 6:30 p.m.
Head to stores in Mount Pleasant, Summerville or Carnes Crossroads every Monday night for a 3 or 5 mile ride.
Frothy beard running club
Monday, 6:30 p.m.
The Frothy Beard Get Fit Run Club is free and no registration is required. Go at your own pace and stay for a beer or two at the West Ashley Brewery, where runners will receive a $ 1 rebate on every pint.
Park Circle Pacers
Tuesday and Thursday, 6.15 p.m.
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
The Park Circle Pacers meet twice a week for races organized by Commonhouse Aleworks. Thursday’s group beer races feature 1-mile and 5-mile routes, and on Sundays, the Pacers meet for longer runs (5 or 8 miles). The Pacers meet on Tuesdays for speed training on the Danny Jones track.
Charleston Running Club
Tuesdays, 6.30 p.m.
The Charleston Running Club meets outside Bar Mash at the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street. There is a walking group, a pace jogging group, and a 9-minute pace running group to the Ravenel Bridge and back.
Ad Astra Endurance Project
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Ad Astra Endurance Project is running a Wednesday night race with 2 and 3 mile options at Low Tide Brewing.
Ethos Athletics Club
Thursday, 5:30 p.m.
Owner Joey Welling runs a weekly run that starts and ends at 311 Huger St.
Charleston Beer Runners
Thursday, 7 p.m.
All levels of runners 21 and over meet at the Hampton Park Gazebo, running 3-5 mile runs to different bars.
Our Sunday race
Sunday, 9 a.m.
Meet at the Hampton Park parking lot, the 8 mile course loops around the peninsula.