SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 25, 2013

On The Run: Membership has its privileges

By Jay Kumar
Correspondent

---- — Running is often a solo endeavor. It’s great to be able to just lace up your shoes and go.

But there’s a lot to be said for strength in numbers.

A huge reason for the North Shore’s vibrant running scene is the support provided by local running clubs. A running club doesn’t just organize road races, but actually serves as a place for runners to commiserate, learn about the sport and bond over a common interest.

By no means are running clubs the exclusive domain of experienced or elite runners. Newbies to the sport can take advantage of the valuable expertise of others, whether it’s doing track workouts with expert coaches, getting tips from seasoned competitors or just going for an easy run with a new friend.

Just as there are many road races of all shapes and sizes on the North Shore, there’s also a wide variety of running club options in the area. Going in alphabetical order, the local running clubs include the following:

• Gil’s Athletic Club (Topsfield)—Better known as GAC, this group refers to itself on its website (www.gaconline.net/rundays.html) as “that bunch of runners from Topsfield.” Based out of a store run by club founder Jim Gilford, GAC charges no dues and prides itself on its informality. The group holds regular runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and hosts the annual Stone Cat 50-mile and marathon trail races (https://sites.google.com/site/stonecattrailraces/), which takes place this year on Nov. 2.

• North Shore Striders (Beverly)—Founded in 1976, the North Shore Striders (www.northshorestriders.com/) boast a diverse membership of younger and older runners alike. The group hosts several local races including the Nahant 30K, is a member of USA Track and Field and provides coaching for members.

• North Shore YMCA Navigators Running Club (Salem)—This club launched a year ago out of the Salem branch of the North Shore YMCA (www.northshoreymca.org/programs/healthy-living/road-races/running-club/) with the goal of providing Y members with regular schedule runs led by volunteers.

• Oniontown Harriers (Danvers)—This group (www.otharriers.com/) is well represented at local races and relay events.

• Team Gloucester (Gloucester)—Team Gloucester (http://teamgloucester.com/) focuses on trail and mountain running. There are no dues or even a regular roster of members. Upcoming runs are listed on the group’s website; runners are invited to simply show up and run.

• Wicked Running Club (Salem)—Wicked Running Club (http://wickedrunningclub.com/) has grown by leaps and bounds almost simultaneously to the growth of running on the North Shore. Wicked hosts numerous races, holds weekly group runs, offers coaching and more.

The North Shore running community is vital and rewarding regardless of the running club you join. These groups are well worth investigating so you can take advantage of the camaraderie and motivation you can get from a running club.

Starts and stops

The third annual Run-a-Latke Family Fun 5K and Chanukah party takes place on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m., 44 Burrill St., Swampscott. There will be children’s programming during the race and a celebration with latkes and donuts at the finish line, followed by the lighting of a giant Lego menorah. Visit www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglivecb.aspx?eventyear_id=124 or contact Allie Vered at 781-595-2026 for more information.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

UPCOMING RACES

Saturday, Oct. 26

• Muddy Leprechaun Mud Run, Marini Farm, Linebrook Road, Ipswich, 9 a.m. Three-mile mud run with obstacles. Contact: Gerry Beauchamp (Ipswich YMCA) at 1-978-356-9622 x109 or beauchampg@northshoreymca.org.

• Fifth annual Devil’s Chase 6.66 Miler, Salem Willows, 129 Fort Ave., Salem Willows soccer field, Salem, 8 a.m. Contact: Ashley Steeves (BNS EVENT MANAGEMENT) at 1-978-836-0271 or bnsfitnessevents@yahoo.com.

Sunday, Oct. 27

• 2nd Annual Endicott Deca 5K, K Lot, 376 Hale St., Beverly, 11 a.m. Each Fall, Endicott College Deca hosts an on-campus 5K to support charity. Contact: Colby (Endicott College Deca) at 1-407-758-7828 or colbydobrusin@gmail.com.

Wednesday, Oct. 30

• Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Thursday, Oct. 31

• No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com. Costumes are optional.

Saturday, Nov. 2

• Goodness Gracious 5K Run for Rescue, Chandler Hovey Park, Lighthouse Lane, Marblehead, noon. A fun 5K run/walk for charity, with or without your dog.

Contact: Cindy Gingrich (Goodness Gracious Run for Rescue) at gingrich16@verizon.net.

• Fourth annual Rotary Run The Heater 5K & Kids Fun Run, Manchester-Essex Regional High School, 36 Lincoln St., Manchester, 9:15 a.m. Contact: Matt Casparius (Manchester Parks and Recreation) at 1-978-526-2019 or recreation@manchester.ma.us.

Wednesday, Nov. 6

• Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Thursday, Nov. 7

• No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact info@wickedrunningclub.com.

Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.