Stress relief comes in all different forms, and with the help of a new club on campus, getting in shape is part of the package.
Senior nursing major Imani Innocent came up with the idea for a competitive running club on campus and soon had two friends on board. While currently called the UMHB Cross Country Club, the group hopes to be at NCAA track and field competitive level by next year.
“Our dream and goal is for this to turn into an official team,” he said.
The club runs Monday through Friday at 6 a.m., meeting in front of the fountain outside of the Mayborn Campus Center.
Students shouldn’t be discouraged by the words “running” and “competitive.”
Sophomore elementary education major Meredith Davis said the group is working on getting in shape and is eager to gain more participants.
“We started out small. Our first week, we ran probably about three and a half miles or so. Now we are at five miles,” she said. We’re hoping to get up to about eight miles before the end of the semester. It’s at your own pace, though.”
In the past, the university has tried to form a track and field team but has failed. Davis said she thinks this one will stick, and part of the reason is encouragement from Innocent.
“He’s the guy that motivates us,” she said.
Freshman exercise sports science major Aaron Miller and part founder of the club with Innocent and Davis said the group has about 15 people consistently right now.
“We run two different routes. One is the campus run and the other is the park run, where we go down Main towards the park. We finish up at the rec fields where we stretch,” he said.
Miller said for now the group is competing on an open level, meaning those who wish to enter races can, whether it be in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons or marathons. Most of the members have a specific cause they run for. Davis runs for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Miller for the people of Burma, hoping to show others there are desperate people who need our help.
While all club members run every morning, the men do extra training on Saturdays, and Innocent has even moved his running time to the evenings because of a busy schedule. He admits that the 6 a.m. time has benefits and downfalls.
“It’s a lot cooler and there is less traffic, but it’s a problem because there are not many people because it’s early,” he said.
A passion for running keeps members coming back for more. Davis uses the time to get some relief.
“The more angry and stressed I am, the better I run,” she said.
Miller takes benefit from the spiritual advantages.
“It has always been my escape … a place where I can run with God,” he said.
Innocent has high hopes for the club and what it can be. He said, “It’s just little right now, but one day it will be big. It’s a privilege to be a part of.”