After being defunct for several years, the Salus University Running Club is back. 

Run Club - Ben LeggerieThe club, first established in 2007-08, attracted up to as many as 30 runners and conducted a lot of in-person training and participated in events — such as the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia — as a team in its early years. 

But the pressures of being a graduate student, combined with the attraction of blowing off a little steam on Friday nights, and participation in the Saturday morning running club eventually waned and then disappeared altogether.

While in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued social distancing rules at the moment, the Salus Running Club has once again emerged to provide an outlet for runners, from beginners to experienced.

Run Club - Brittany Gasser“Right now, we’re fortunate enough to be in not the best of situations, but being able to turn it around and have an opportunity to bring it back,” said Kendall Rosen, program manager at the University’s Hafter Student Community Center. “We don’t really have any competing interests anymore, since nobody can go out on Friday nights now.”

Rosen said the initial response to the revitalization of the club has been good. Between 25 and 30 runners expressed an interest within days of the announcement.

The club had its first virtual meet-and-greet in mid-May. Given the uncertainty of the evolution of the pandemic, weekly running “challenges” with the details are being offered online.

Run Club - Don KatesThe first reintroduction challenge on May 16 was a 10-hour, 10-mile challenge. Instead of running 10 miles all at once, runners could do one mile on the top of the hour from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first official event as a group was May 29 to May 31, which was a “10K Your Way.” Runners could run the 6.2 miles all at once to get their times (intermediate and advanced runners) or split it up (for beginners) and run a couple of miles each day.

“So every week, instead of that live group run, we’re doing a weekend challenge so we can scale it to people who are more beginner or advanced,” said Rosen. “And, then once we get back to being able to host live, we’ll just transition those into a Saturday or Sunday run.”

RunClub - Sophie SwallowRosen believes it will be a benefit for the group to start out virtually, given the current social distancing situation.

“We’re kind of leaning back on being able to offer these things virtually and just connecting people and building those relationships with each other to get the community going and that will hopefully solidify that the relationships that everybody had with each other before we got back into being in person and being able to do these group runs,” she said. “Since everything is virtual right now, there are no competing interests and people are able to spend a little more time getting to know each other than maybe they would if we were on campus and it was business as usual. And, when we get back together on the weekends, everyone is going to know each other and it will be great.” 

RunClub - Ian CookRosen and Helena Rotte, Hafter Center group exercise coordinator, are splitting the runners into advanced and beginners groups. Rosen will work with the advanced runners and Rotte will work with the beginning runners.

“Once we have our groups, that will help us figure out what the people who are in those groups are looking for,” said Rosen.  “We’re hoping that once everyone communicates and it evolves a little bit, that we’ll have a more clear sense of direction that they want to go. Right now we do have running programs that we recommend to help runners get started and find a training plan to fit their goals.”

Anyone looking for more information on the Salus Running Club can email the team at runners@salus.edu.