North Texas Daily

Denton Area Running Club kicks off Summer Run series

Denton Area Running Club kicks off Summer Run series

Denton Area Running Club kicks off Summer Run series
June 14
20:34 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer


About 140 people packed the seating area outside Beth Marie’s near Unicorn Lake Tuesday to kick off the Denton Area Running Club’s Summer Run Series.

As part of its summer long running series, the Denton Area Running club will be traveling around Denton every Monday until July 25 to meet up and run. If somebody runs or walks with the club four or more times, they get a free t-shirt.

For club president Tony Roman, the club was a way to keep a tradition of running he learned with the Coast Guard.

“Every time I’d move around, I’d try to find a running club in the area,” Roman said. “I came to Denton, and there wasn’t anything like that. So me and my friend decided to do a social run.”

Their Monday runs are not their most popular, however. Vice president Ben Bridgeman said there’s something going on six days a week, from different workouts to social runs.

The club’s most popular event by far is the Oak Street Draft House runs, where members meet outside the bar and run from there.

Bridgeman pumps up the Denton Area Running Club before going on about a three mile run.

Ben Bridgeman, vice president of Denton Area Running Club, pumps up the club before going on about a 5k run Monday around Unicorn Lake. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

The club’s summer running series is more family-centered, this time offering a 15 percent discount at Beth Marie’s Ice Cream Unicorn Lake location.

“Our biggest turnout is usually at Oak Street just because people don’t want to run on Mondays,” Bridgeman said. “We ran the course on Saturday and made sure everything was cool with setting up out here and making sure everything was good with the discount.”

With the Cinemark movie theatre just across the street, Mondays aren’t usually busy for Beth Marie’s Ice Cream. In partnering with the Denton Running Club, runners get a discount on ice cream and Beth Marie’s gets more customers.

For runners Jerry and Sharla Hibberd, running with people in Denton and eating ice cream is what it’s all about.

“We really love Denton, even though we live up in Prosper,” Sharla Hibberd said. “We just came here for the run, get some exercise and then eat some ice cream afterward. We’ve done this for a while now, and we really love it.”

Denton Area Running Club was founded in January of 2015 after previous social runs attracted a lot of people. For liability purposes, Roman decided to try and get 501( c )(3) nonprofit status, and after a long and arduous process of applications and fees, the club is now a nonprofit and chapter member of the Road Runner’s Club of America.

With over 1,500 people participating in last year’s Turkey Trot, the club’s Thanksgiving seasonal running event, Roman hopes the club continues to grow.

“We want to eventually do bigger races in Denton,” Roman said. “The thing with the Turkey Trot is that we shut down the roads, we paid for police, and we did it around the Square. So we want the city to see it’s not so bad.”

Roman said last year’s Turkey Trot took a lot of work to organize. The event ended up costing about $23,000 and was stressful, according to Roman, including forms and calls to the final day of the run. But the club managed to provide $8,300 to the Denton community Food Bank and keep some money as a non-profit.

Roman hopes to get UNT and Denton more involved in the events they organize.

“We definitely want to get UNT more involved,” Roman said. “It’s honestly so much easier to work with TWU. I work at UNT and we’re trying to get discounts and stuff. And everybody keeps to themselves. TWU gives us whatever we need usually.”

The marathons and half-marathons are their most popular races. Brad Cummins, an environmental science graduate student, has been running around Denton since his sophomore year at UNT and has practiced running marathons with people he met at the club.

But until recently, he has not been participating regularly in the club.

“I try to make it out when they have events,” Cummins said. “I trained for two marathons by myself, and that gets boring. I was going through some problems sophomore year, so I decided to run as a stress reliever. Running with people is just more fun.”

With five more runs in the summer series, and the Turkey Trot fast-approaching, Roman said he feels this year will be better than last year.

“It’s really looking like it’s going to be a good year,” Roman said. “Last year was our first, so we’re hoping we keep the momentum. I guess we want to become the center – the experts in this stuff.”

Featured Image: Denton Area Running Club kicked off it’s Summer Run Series Monday at Beth Marie’s on Unicorn Lake. The running club will host six runs in their series for the summer. Sanchez Murray | Staff Photographer

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