The large group of Ohio State students that congregates outiside of the Ohio Union every weekday aren’t just there to chat. They’re there to run.
The Running Club is a student organization that welcomes all levels of runners. There are around 100 members total, including undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty.
The organization, which started in 2002, is both a social and competitive club. The competitive team competes during both the track and field and cross country seasons. Being a branch of the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association, the team gets the opportunity to compete at NIRCA-sanctioned meets and Division III collegiate meets.
For those who do not want to run competitively, the Running Club also offers a social aspect for students who want to challenge themselves.
Jennifer Doerr, a fourth-year in animal sciences ran track and cross country her senior year of high school, and has run competitively in the Running Club all four of her years of college.
“Being in the Running Club definitely motivates me a lot more to push myself,” Doerr said. “The friends I’ve made through the club make me want to come back every day and run.”
The daily runs range anywhere from 3 to 8 miles. Everyone starts in a big group and eventually breaks into smaller groups based on desired distance and speed for that day. The club makes an effort to mix up the runs and change the routes every day. Routes run through campus, Goodale Park, downtown or local trails.
Tom Krajnak, fourth-year in aerospace engineering and president of the Running Club, has been a member of the organization for four years. He ran track and cross country all four years of high school. Krajnak said one of his goals for the team this year is to make sure that the new members feel like family and to give them the same opportunity that made his college experience so memorable and fun.
“My favorite part of the Running Club is the relationships that you develop after putting in hours of running on the trails, and the bonds that you make after racing through the mud and rain,” Krajnak said.
Even with the unpredictable Ohio weather, rain, snow nor cold temperatures deter them from meeting. Typically all runs are held outside, but the club also reserves the French Field House two days each week for indoor workouts during the winter months.
In addition to the optional daily runs, various events are held throughout the year, such as volunteering at the Columbus and Cap City marathons. In the past, the club has also done charity work and some recreational events included team outings to Sky Zone, laser-tag and team dinners.
“I felt like I wanted to give back to the club which had provided me with numerous unforgettable experiences and an amazing group of friends,” Krajnak said.
The Running Club meets outside of the Ohio Union Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm.