By Edward May
It was a dark and stormy night...No really, it was.
Thursday night was mild, but windy and unpredictably rainy. With only a week until Winter Solstice, 7 p.m. was dark as well. Nonetheless, it was Thursday and that meant just one thing—running with the Square Runners.
Since early October, my wife Brenda, and I have jogged to the each Thursday evening to join in a weekly group run. The group is eclectic, much like the driving force behind the Square Runners, William Reed Wingo. At about 6’ with short reddish hair and an intense gaze, has anchored the running group at the Square Cafe, where he works.
This Thursday night was special because this was William’s last Thursday night run. So, a small but core group of runners were there—Mala, Heather and Heather, Jaye, Kristina, Karen, me and William. Jaye had the cupcake connection and brought in a couple of boxes of the goodies. Heather brought some delicious bar candies she had made as well. After the run, when we were chatting and eating, I asked William about the history of the running club.
About a year ago, William had noticed a posting in the nearby laundromat for a local running club. The woman posting it was trying to revive a running club in Regent Square. William jumped right in. As any tech savvy 21st century netizen would, he created a Facebook group for the group and advertised it on the Square Cafe’s website. So, after posting the initial run, William wasn’t quite sure if anyone would show up. That first night he had 18 runners!
Since then, every Thursday, a group of runners has met in front of the cafe. William has mapped out several routes of varying length, especially helpful to beginning runners. He likes everyone to meet back at the cafe, both to distribute Gatorades and to make sure everyone is OK. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of the Square Runners is the support everyone gets from William and the other runners. New runners and returning runners, especially, feel the warmth of the group as they are encouraged to run just a bit further, or just a bit faster.
Lately, the Thursday evening group has topped off the evening by sharing a beer at one of the fine establishments across the street. Many runners are now running in the morning at 6, 6:15 or 7 a.m. There are some who are even willing to go as early as 5:30 a.m., but that is difficult. While William has had to shift his running to the morning to fit his schedule, the Thursday night run continues.