Distance running is a growing sport in Jackson. Running with a partner or in groups will increase your motivation. You'll have others to help keep you accountable, and it just makes running a lot more fun and lighthearted.
Though our capital city is catching on a little slower than places like Portland, Ore., the metro area has more runners than you might think. It's finding them that's the tough part. Thankfully, you don't have to do all the searching yourself. Three organizations around the Jackson area host events for runners of all levels. At these events, you can increase your training if you're looking to become competitive (or more competitive), or just hang out and enjoy a few miles in the company of others.
Fleet Feet Sports (500 U.S. Highway 51, 601-899-9696, fleetfeetjackson.com) offers a number of training programs for runners. The eight-kilometer races with group training are Thursdays at 6 p.m. This "No Boundaries" training program is a 10-week series and costs $100. Fleet Feet holds its first interest meeting for the 8K training program on Aug. 23, and the second Aug. 28 at their location. The kickoff for the program is Aug. 30.
If you're interested in running full or half marathons, those meetups are Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. The 22-week full and half marathon training program costs $155. It kicked off the weekend of Aug. 10; however, the good folks at Fleet Feet said that they always expect late registrations, and they encourage people to register even if they miss the first few events.
Besides its for-fee training programs, Fleet Feet has a few free options to get to know other runners around the area. The store holds a once-a-month Poker Run, (which combines poker, a 3-mile run/walk and prizes), Pub Run (a 2-to-4-mile fun run/walk that ends with complimentary drinks at Soulshine Pizza) and Kids Run (a 1/2-to-1-mile fun run for kids). Call or check the website for more info.
StinkyFeet Athletics (155 E. Ridgeway St., 601-992-1439, stinkyfeetathletics.com) offers a number of free options for runners in the Fondren and Flowood areas. On Mondays, the store hosts an 8:15 a.m. women's run from the store off Lakeland Drive, and a 6 p.m. run for both male and female runners in Fondren that starts in the Duling School parking lot on Duling Avenue (behind Babalu Tacos and Tapas). Stinky Feet also hosts a men's morning run on Tuesdays at 5:45 a.m. from the shop and another all-women's run on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.
LiveRightNow Running Group. Last September, personal trainer Terry Sullivan started preparing with just a small group of friends for a race in Tennessee. When people along Old Canton Road in Fondren (where he and the group trained) started to take notice, they also started to ask about joining the group. Now, eight months later, more than 200 people run with Sullivan's group. LiveRightNow hosts hill runs on Old Canton Road Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 6 p.m. On Mondays, the group hosts a morning run at 6 a.m. Other runs vary from week to week.
LiveRightNow is devoted to creating a social network of like-minded individuals who focus on wellness, and Sullivan encourages runners of all levels to join the group. For more information, email him at [email protected] or visit the website liverightnowonline.com.
Are you a member of a running group we don't know about? Add the information to the comments for this story online at www.jfp.ms, or send all the details to [email protected], and we'll add it for you.