Full disclosure: Christine Maggi is a member of the Running Club.
This spring quarter, the UWT Running Club will be hosting weekly runs that surround downtown Tacoma. The group meets at the W statue every run.
Founder and president of the club, Brandon Foster, discussed how it started and what his vision is. He says, “I was sitting in Zack Miller’s corporate finance lecture and he said the words ‘ready, fire, aim.’” Those words inspired Foster to take action. Foster adds, “I wanted to create a program that would allow people to meet each other across multiple disciplines and allow students to engage with each other while promoting an environment that would be different than what’s already established.”
UWT students got a brief introduction of the Running Club during fall quarter 2015. The club hosted two events: one being a campus social, another being a running fundraiser for the Tacoma Children’s Hospital. Due to a lack of participants, the club took a hiatus winter quarter.
This spring, the club is planning to bring more members and supporters through online/social media access, weekly running routes, and volunteering in local races.
The program recently published a website that contains running routes, brief descriptions of the run leaders and members, and an interactive run route system called Map My Run that tracks a runner’s miles.
So far, the club has hosted two runs with five to seven members per run. Club Officer, Joshua Neighbarger comments that the group has a diverse range of running paces, ranging from five minute to 10 minute miles. The club is planning on providing two to six mile runs that vary in pace. Neighbarger says, “What we’ve been trying to do lately is to come up with a solid plan and find different leaders who run at different paces so we target all of those ability groups.” He adds, “That way everybody gets a benefit out of being here.”
On April 9th, the Running Club volunteered for “Paws for a Cause,” an annual 5K event. The club will also be volunteering in the second annual 5K Dawg Dash on May 21st. This race is held at the University Y and is open to anyone interested in volunteering or competing in downtown Tacoma. Whether you have never raced in your life or are a veteran of high school races, the 5K Dawg Dash gives you the opportunity to see what you can do and improve your 5K time for the future. Foster says, “I like the idea that running allows a measurement for improvement. So you can see where you’re at. You don’t even know what you can do until you actually do it.”
So why running? According to the Health and Wellness Newsletter from Mayo Clinic, running releases feel-good transmitters called endorphins, which lower the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Also, making the time to exercise weekly can help college students remain calm and clear when approaching stressful tasks. Co-Vice President Viktor Pilipchuk comments, “When I run in the morning I know I’m much more productive than if I didn’t run.” Neighbarger added that “when you’re running, your minds already working, your body is already moving. It has that nice jump start. That nice push to start your day.”
The leaders of the running club bring a variety of different backgrounds. Foster has been running competitively and doing sports since 4th grade. Co-Vice President Harjot Bajwa has been running casually for five years. Pilipchuk ran competitively in high school. Neighbarger figured out his strength in long distance running after high school when he ran a 15k for the first time.
When I first got to college, I struggled creating my own running plan that I once had in high school cross country. But with time, I figured out a running plan that worked with my busy schedule. I like to race in local 5ks and I’m looking forward to competing in the 2016 Dawg Dash.
Bajwa concludes, “Running helps people to be out of the box a little bit. Run not just physically but in your studies and in your community.”
There are tons of new UWT clubs besides Running Club that want to promote health like the wrestling club, powerlifting club, and soccer club. Now that the weather is getting warmer, why not get active this quarter and see what your body can do?