What started as a Facebook group and the hopes of creating a running club for New Albany has taken off with the community joining together with the same goal.
Dorothy Denton is an avid runner of nine years, and along with Amanda Kent, the duo created the New Albany Runs Facebook group, connecting runners in the town and giving people an outlet for their sport.
“The group evolved after being loosely organized,” Kent explained. “We brainstormed and came up with the Facebook page to spread the word as well as give runners a way to communicate with one another. “I’ve been running for about a year and a half, and I’m currently training to run in my first marathon, St. Jude, in December. For me, it’s a great way to interact with people as well as a good form of therapy.”
“I’ve been trying to get a running group together, and it’s been a process trying to get it together a couple of times and it not working,” Denton said. “Then Amanda started the Facebook page, and everything kind of fell into place and more people started showing up to run. I’ll post long runs and group runs, and now we have about 15 people wanting to run in the St. Jude; either the full, half marathon or 5K.”
The St. Jude race is not the only race they are focusing on, as the goals vary with each runner.
“I know a lot of the people, and I enjoy socializing with them,” Vickie Rowland said. “When you become a runner, it seems like you join an elite group, and that group sticks together and enjoys their time together. I just enjoy socializing with the other runners and having someone to run with versus on my own.”
Rowland is apart of the Tupelo-based Marathon Makeover program, which trains runners to run either a half or full marathon.
“We started in January with low mileage and we progressed to a half marathon in June,” she said. “We had the choice of doing the half marathon to end the program in October or to do a full marathon, and I chose the full marathon.”
For Corey Hall, running is not only enjoyable, but for the Blue Mountain College student, it has also helped him get back in shape.
“It’s been a good outlet for me and it’s been apart of my weight loss and fitness,” Hall said. “It’s an enjoyment thing, and someone can’t fully appreciate it until they really get into it.”
Hall recently ran in his first race, and like many others in the area, is looking forward to this Saturday’s Tallahatchie River Run.
“This is a big event during the Riverfest, and I would encourage anyone who lives along the route to get out and cheer on the runners,” Kent said. “It’s something for everyone.”
Any number of runners can show up at a certain time, and all runners are encouraged to join the club.
“We have people who run six to seven minute miles and others who run 11 minute miles,” Denton said. “We don’t leave anyone behind. You’ve got to start somewhere, and the fact that you’ve set a goal and finished, it doesn’t matter who gets there first.”
The group is expanding even more, as there are no dues or membership fees, and the group has designed t-shirts, available to order either through the Facebook page or from Amanda Kent. Runners participating in the Tallahatchie River Run this weekend will have a- t-shirt order form included in their packet.
For more information on the group, check out the New Albany Runs page on Facebook.