MANISTEE — A recently reformed club is looking to get Manistee residents out and moving.
The Manistee Run Club has recently relaunched with the mantra, "all are welcome, any pace," according to club president Dan Dean.
"We currently have 20-something speedsters to old slow guys like me and many in between," Dean stated in a press release from the club. "We are a mix of lifelong residents and relatively new transplants and our backgrounds are just as diverse."
Dean stated that the club's goal is to "have fun, share our love of running, get to know our neighbors and provide an avenue for those who simply want to start running or veteran runners who want to go faster and longer."
The club recently announced its relaunch, with a new website and logo, after forming an advisory board consisting of five Manistee-area residents.
The club first launched in 2019 by Manistee Beverage Co. co-owner James Beaudrie as a way to share his love of running with the community and help promote the Run the Pier 5K, sponsored by NOMI Racing, of which he is also co-owner. The annual race held in August draws hundreds to Manistee for a sunset road race that includes a run on Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse.
Beaudrie is now secretary of the relaunched club and said he is excited to see where it goes, according to the release.
Helping people get started in running is a key aspect of the club.
"We all had help getting started, and sharing our knowledge and experience with others who want to do the same is a way we can give back to the community," Dean stated.
In April, Dean marked his 60th birthday by running 10K per day over six days for charity. Money raised went to benefit the Lakeshore Children's Advocacy Center in Manistee.
Dean, who runs between three and five days each week, says that if he can do it — anyone can.
"I started by walking our new family puppy to the bus stop with the kids. It then extended to walk around the entire neighborhood," he said.
Dean told the News Advocate that he had been a sedentary office worker for 24 years, and at his heaviest weighed 215 pounds.
The big change came when Dean took his 78-year old mother to run a 5K race in downtown Detroit.
"I drove her to the race. It was the same morning as the Detroit Free Press Marathon and we watched the start … it was the first marathon I had ever witnessed; it was so exciting and I knew then I wanted to run a marathon," Dean said.
His mother, Carol Dean, was part of a group called Hope Water International, a faith-based run group that raises money for drinking water wells in Africa.
"I signed up to run the 2014 Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon. In April at the group's kickoff event I could hardly run 10 minutes," Dean stated. "But they provided a training plan and I followed it to a 'T,' weekdays by myself and with the group on weekends."
By race day in October, Dean finished the 13.1 mile race.
"We really want to be able to do the same here in Manistee for anyone who might want to run their first-ever race, whether it is a 5K or a marathon," Dean stated.
Dean told the News Advocate, that it isn't difficult to join the club and start running.
"The biggest thing is just convincing yourself you need to go do it," Dean said. "Running is pretty simple; you get a pair of decent shoes and you can go run. That's the beauty of it."
While a variety of free training plans are available online, Dean says the key is "to have a group to help you along the way."
"The first thing to do if you ever want to start running is to sign up for a race," he told the News Advocate. "Next thing to do is join a group because you will find the hardest thing is showing up … But if you do it you’ll never regret it, because it feels so good afterward."
Racing is a key element of the running community, but you don't have to be fast to race, said Denny Capling, Manistee Run Club race director.
"Racing is all about having fun and challenging yourself wherever you are in your running journey," she stated in a release.
As the club's race director, Capling suggests monthly local races for club members to sign up for, and participate in, as a group.
Manistee Run Club treasurer Jason Connell ran in this year's Boston Marathon — the world's oldest continually run marathon, and one of the most iconic.
"Boston is an experience you all should have if you love running," Connell told club members on its private Facebook page. "It is an experience like no other."
Connell started running as a kid growing up in Indiana. Weekly kid races hosted by the local run club fueled his love for running. His advice to new runners is, "how you compare to others and your starting point doesn't matter."
"If you start running, you will improve and will probably surprise yourself," he stated.
Running might be in the club's name, but just as important is developing friendships with others dedicated to that common purpose.
"We want to be welcoming to all and provide a platform where neighbors in the Manistee community, whether full-time residents or visitors can feel safe and welcomed," stated Christine Rogers, the club's social director. "We love to stick around after runs whether at a restaurant or one of the beaches to chat and share a beverage."
The club is an all-volunteer led organization and is free to join, but it has incurred expenses from its new website, plus the one-time cost for the logo design.
"We would like to purchase a flag and a couple banners to help make us more visible as we meet around the community to run," stated Connell. "So we will at some point provide a way to collect donations to help cover club expenses," he said.
The Manistee Run Club is welcoming new members to "just show up and join the fun," according to the press release.
The club currently meets as a group at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays for a short fun run starting and ending at North Channel Brewing Co., and 8 a.m. Sundays also at North Channel for a long run.
The schedule will change as the weather warms, with more weekday runs added. Visit the club's website for current meet times and locations, upcoming races and more at manisteerunclub.com . The club is also active on Instagram and has a private Facebook page .
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