Runners might have outnumbers pedestrians of other types Tuesday evening as the second edition of the Downtown Running Club got underway.
The club, currently in its first season, hosts a weekly 5k every Tuesday evening. Registration is free, with a free T-shirt awaiting those who complete 10 runs.
Shortly after 5 p.m., John Campbell stretched his calf muscles as he leaned into a sign post on First Street. He said the club offered a chance to run with other people as he works toward two long-term running goals — running every day and running 1,000 miles.
“The running community is such a great group of people,” he said. “Everybody supports each other, which is so cool in today’s world.”
Runners and walkers met at Bare Necessities Physical Therapy, 217 S. First St., to sign in. From there, they departed in groups of two or three, sometimes with a stroller or two between them.
Many started timers on their watches and inserted ear buds as they jogged across First Street and up the footbridge for a route around Optimist Park and the downtown district.
Daniel Minton said he was inspired to get out for a run by the warm weather and its hint of summer days ahead.
“I just wanted to be out with other people that are running around,” he said. “It’s energetic, and I’m ready for spring to be here.”
Raquel Clark, pushing 9-month-old Lucia in a stroller, was familiar with the running club concept, as she was part of a similar group in Colorado before moving to Laramie. She’s currently training for the BolderBOULDER 10K in May.
“We want to build a little more community and have our daughter meet other babies,” she said.
Amy Bare moved to Laramie in the summer with her husband, Tony, and three children.
They started the Downtown Running Club this spring as a way to encourage people to get outside, build community and promote the downtown district.
“Part of moving to a small town was being part of a community, so this is what we know how to do,” she said.
Participants are invited to drop by their office any time from 5-6 p.m. to sign in. From there, they proceed to the 5k course at their own pace. Afterwards, Lovejoy’s Bar and Grill offers a dinner special and happy hour drink specials for runners who want to socialize.
Runners who complete 10 runs will get a free T-shirt, plus a free beer from Lovejoy’s, Bare said. Sponsorships are still available for a spot on the shirt.
The plan is to offer additional free T-shirts — and the bragging rights that come with them — to participants who complete 50 and 100 runs.
“We hope this is a long-term thing, because to get to 100, it’ll take a couple years,” Bare said.
About 130 participants turned out for each of the first two weeks of the club, despite volatile spring weather.
“Laramie people are hardy,” Bare said.
Bare has completed several marathons and leads local running and fitness groups for mothers. On Tuesday evening, she tackled the course with two kids riding bikes beside her while pushing another in a stroller.
“It’s just about getting out and moving,” she said. “It’s not about being competitive.”