A Conversation with Charleston Running Club President Paul MacDonald

Paul MacDonald
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Amazing, well planned, perfectly executed races do not happen by themselves. It takes long hours and dedicated individuals that work hard to bring such races to the people. Enter the Charleston Running Club and its board members. Over the years the CRC has established one of the strongest running communities in the south, and has played integral roles in bringing our favorite races to life—races that have forged traditions among the Holy City running community, like The Cooper River Bridge Run, the Charlie Post Classic 15K, and the Floppin' Flounder 5K.

For more than 35 years the Charleston Running Club has been the behind the scenes hero for area runners, making sure our favorite events continue to thrive and grow bigger and better annually. RootsRated jumped at the opportunity to talk to Paul MacDonald, president of the CRC, and chat about the past, present, and future of Charleston's running community.

Charleston Running Club

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your history as a runner, and how you came to be president of the club.

I ran cross-country in high school, some in the navy (4 active, 17 reserve, retired as CDR in 2006), and some after I retired from service. I moved to the Charleston area in 2004 and started running again, mostly 5k’s and 10k’s, then stepping up to half marathons. My first marathon was in 2007, and my 2nd one was in 2009.

My 3rd marathon in 2010 is where I got the bug to run one in every state after meeting several “50 staters.” I have now completed 31 marathons in 30 states. I came across the Charleston Running Club at the Cooper River Bridge Run several years ago, joined the club, and attended events where I met lots of fellow runners. I was asked to be on board in 2013, served one year on board, and then was asked to be President in 2014. I've been President since then, and will step down after this year.

How have you seen Charleston's running community evolve over the years?

There has been a lot more training opportunities through local coaches and retailers, an increase in social events, and there seems to be a lot more runners in general. There are so many more races than there used to be in Charleston, not to mention the evolution trail races here thanks to Eagle Endurance and Chad Haffa.

It must be amazing to have watched the community evolve over the years. Which races seem to be the most popular? What events do you look forward to every year?

5k's and 10k's are more prevalent than ever. Mainly themed races centered around holidays. The Turkey Day Trot, Reindeer Run, the Veteran’s Day Run for the Yorktown, are all great events. Some of my favorites include the Bridge Run, the James Island Connector Run, IOP Connector Run, the Charleston Marathon, and the Folly Beach ½ Marathon.

For more information about getting involved with the CRC, as well as the details for every race event in the city, visit The Charleston Running Club's website. There you'll be able to find a full events calendar for 2015, volunteer opportunities, as well as a tight-knit group of runners more than happy to get you involved in the Charleston running scene.

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