Running with a Pack

Brian Cribb
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Frankly, sometimes running solo can be boring, and sometimes even miserable. Training for a race can get challenging if you are listening to the demons in your head as the miles add up, but running with a group can help with motivation and pace. RootsRated offers a list of group runs for every day of the week. No more excuses…

Monday

The run: The aptly titled "Monday Run" is a 4.44 mile route around a pretty part of Dilworth. The group of a dozen to several dozen runners meet at the Charlotte Running Company on East Blvd at 6:30. The pack heads to the start, located just behind CRC, at 6:35. Organizers answer questions for newbies before the group takes off. All turns are marked with white arrows but it’s a great idea to print out a copy of the directions from the meet-up site for your first couple trips.

Charlotte Running Co. and Charlotte Running meetup group

Why go : This is one of the hilliest group runs in Charlotte. After running this a few times the Trolly Trail will be a piece of cake. On occasion, a manufacturer’s rep will bring in some trial shoes and gear.

The perks: $1.95 domestic pints and pizza at Brixx.

Tuesday

The run: The term “5 on the Booty” conjures up plenty of images. In this case it’s referring to the group run around the nearly famous Booty Loop in the picturesque neighborhood of Myers Park. The Booty Loop is about three miles with another two-ish on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, making the entire route around 5.1 miles. The group meets at 6:30 pm near the fountain in front of Dresslers.

Why go: It’s tough to beat this route for its scenery. Part oak tree canopied shade and part urban greenway with a great view of the Charlotte skyline.

The perks: Beer and appetizer specials at Dresslers.

Wednesday

The run: NoDa Brewing Run Club hosts one of the largest weekly group runs in Charlotte. At 6:30 each Wednesday night, expect your running support group to be several hundred strong in good weather. Even in sketchy weather there seems to be a strong number of joggers willing to brave the elements. The course is fairly tame with only a few hills and has a 1 mile, 3 mile, and 5 mile option. There are enough runners to have someone to follow and the Run Club posts someone at each distance split off to help direct you. There is a food truck at the Brewery each week and typically support for a local charity.

NoDa Brewing

Why go : Beer is always a good reason. Noda Brewing has received national acclaim for their Hop, Drop, and Roll IPA and there’s a new beer released weekly.

The perks: you guessed it, great beer!

Thursday

It’s hard to swing a dead cat in Charlotte on Thursday night and not hit a run group. Here is one of the most popular trail run options. Please note that no cats, alive or dead, were swung during the writing of this article.

The run: The U.S. National Whitewater Center has two group runs on Thursday night, both beginning at roughly 6:30. The first is the official USNWC run. This typically well attended run offers a 1, 3, and 6 mile option of trail marked very well for each distance and usually still takes place even when the trails are officially closed. Once a month the group hosts a trail race which requires a small fee to enter. This group meets down by the manmade river.

The second option at the USNWC is organized by the Carolina Trail Runners and Mountain Bikers meet-up. Distance varies but typical options are between 4 and 7 miles.  The group meets in the parking lot near the adventure center.

Brian Cribb

Why go : With more hills and rougher terrain than your average road run you can get a completely different type of workout. Bonus, the tree canopy keeps the sun off you even during the hottest summer evenings.

The perks: Each Thursday throughout summer, the USNWC provides live music, a good beer selection, and multiple food options. If the lines are too long try the Grab n’ Go next to the main restaurant for a small offering of canned beer and a typically shorter wait.

Friday

The run: The Underground Wabbit Run is a 2.5 or 4 mile road run organized by the Charlotte Runners meet-up group. The flat course begins and ends at the Pecular Rabbit. The run is held on alternating Fridays.

Charlotte Running Co.

Why go : Friday doesn’t bring with it a great number of regularly scheduled group runs, so options are slim. Even so, this is a choice run through the funky Plaza Midwood neighborhood.

The perks: The Peculiar Rabbit is a quintessential Plaza Midwood gastropub with a great vibe and even better beer.

Saturday

The run: If you need to atone for the poor choices you made on Friday or get in shape for the poor choices you plan to make on Saturday, Trysports of Charlotte holds a weekly event on the McMullen Creek Greenway for both walkers and runners. Options of 3 to 12 miles and a range of paces make this a very versatile choice. The group meets at Earth Fare off Johnston Rd.

Why go: If there’s ever a time to need the motivation of a group to get you going, it’s Saturday morning and the greenway is as pleasant a place as you’ll find to run.

NoDa Brewing Run Club

The perks : Earth Fare offers coffee and a whole big pile of options for a post run nosh.

Sunday

The Run: It could be a good day to rest or you can take advantage of the morning for your long run. In fact, there’s a weekly event call the Sunday Long Run. It starts at 7 am across the street from the Starbucks on Rea Rd, in Ballantine, and has plenty of options for distances from 3 to over 10 miles.

Why go: You lost a bet and have to get up and run at 7 on a Sunday morning... Actually, the peace of running early on a Sunday is hard to beat.

The perks: Just about anything you want. You got your best run in for the week before 9 am on a Sunday!

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