No runner ever gets left behind with Oakland University’s Running Club. The Running Club was first started in 2012 to promote a common interest of staying healthy and running.
Oakland University is one of seven colleges in Michigan that is a part of the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA). This allows for Running Club to still compete in races at a college level, but it does not involve the full commitment a Division I sport requires.
The club has participated in a variety of races including 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, cross country meets and other road races such as the Brooksie Way.
Most recently, Running Club ventured to Central Michigan University for the Chip Trails race on Saturday, Oct. 21. For the men’s 8K, freshman Charles Zhou finished seventh and President Sarah Smith came in 10th in the women’s 6K.
“We’re aiming to do one meet a semester, and then other road races as they come along,” Smith said.
Although many members have experience running cross country in high school, Running Club is willing to work with people of all levels and experience. Even if there is someone just starting out or trying to return to the sport after a few years off, Running Club is eager to hit the trails around campus.
Unlike other club sports at Oakland, there is no formal try-out for Running Club. There are currently around 25 rostered members, but the club is always accepting new members. Interested students are encouraged to reach out to members or to simply just show up to practices.
“It’s a nice space where a bunch of people, who enjoy a common hobby, get together and bond through running,” freshman member Luis Carcamo said.
As the weather gets colder, Running Club will continue to brave the elements and have practice outside. The club runs in wind, snow, sun and rain— everything except lightning.
There are also a lot of roads and trails that the runners follow around campus. Usually there is not a set route for runs, but members have gone through the woods and around the golf course.
“If we feel adventurous, we’ll just go out and run wherever,” freshman member Andrew Chen said.
However, safety goes along with wherever the runners go. Some cars, especially when turning right, do not particularly pay a lot of attention to runners, so members have to be diligent when crossing streets and intersections.
Oakland’s campus is also covered in hills. Secretary Rachel Zeile explained that runners have to go slow down hills or they could end up falling.
Not everything the club does has to do with running. Members do other activities such as stretching and ab workouts too. Some members even enjoy a game of basketball or volleyball occasionally. This past Halloween, runners took to campus dressed in costumes and passed out candy.
“People think we’re super intense and super hardcore, but we’re really chill,” Zeile said.
Running club is proud of the community they have built within themselves and the friendships they have fostered. The club wants the group to be a fun place where people can come to relieve stress and to run with others.
“No matter who you are, no matter what experience you have with running, you’re always welcome,” Carcamo said.