Runners Club Sets Pace for Fun Year
Around 6 p.m. every day, a group of runners—fast, slow and every pace in between—meets outside the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse in faded high school cross country t-shirts and scuffed-up Asics and Nikes. They debate back and forth what distance to run that day, and finally they take off, chatting about old race stories and laughing between gasps of air.
Running for miles may seem like an adventure to most, but for the GVSU Running Club, it’s a daily
“The goals we have set for our team at our meeting this week were to be injury free as a club, to keep
people together during group runs and have a few team ice baths,” club President Forrest Verellen
Verellen said he believes trying to make everyone feel as welcome as possible, no matter their pace, is
the most important thing to focus on.
He also stressed that the club wants to finish highly ranked in the National Intercollegiate Running
Club Association. Last year the club traveled to Hershey, Pa., for the NIRCA fall nationals, then to
Bloomington, Ind., for the spring nationals, where the women of the GVSU club placed second in the
half-marathon. This year, the runners hope to continue the tradition of participating in NIRCA and
hope to perform even better collectively.
The club participates in a wide variety of races, including the Frozen Foot Five Mile in Traverse City.
The race takes place in the dead of winter, and the high-spirited club takes up over half of the local
The club is also planning on setting up a few events of their own, such as the Chocolate Milk Mile
(each participant attempts to drink 48 ounces of chocolate milk while running a mile) and unofficial
time trials with events ranging from the 100-meter dash to a five kilometer race, where people can
test their fitness levels in a friendly atmosphere.
Jackson Lytle, a returning member of the club, said his membership has helped him to become a
“There are a lot of experienced runners who give you words of wisdom and a great group of positive
people to train with,” he said.
The runners range from those who only run a few miles a week to serious marathoners. Many
participate in the Grand Rapids Half-Marathon and Marathon on Oct. 20 and train together throughout
the school year.
Another returning member, Jacob Schacht, is looking forward to the exciting races and great club
bonding opportunities this year will provide.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to bond with the great personalities that come out
when running and the good humor that comes with the club,” Schacht said.