I’ve long had an interest in evolutionary psychology, in part because I’m fascinated with the tendency of humans to separate themselves into tribes.
It happens on so many levels, but a microcosm of it can be observed in the local running scene.
Having kept an eye on it as both health and fitness writer and avid runner, I’ve witnessed the tendency of people to gravitate to running tribes in Charleston, typically organized by local running stores but also under individual chieftains. (I won’t name names.)
At races, the warriors show up wearing their matching shorts and singlets, tribe name emblazoned across their chests, to triumph and claim booty (trophies) for their tribes.
OK, maybe I’m taking the modern anthropology a tad too far. But you get my point.
So when the Charleston Running Club spearheaded an effort to bring most of those tribes together for a free “community-wide group run,” it grabbed my attention. It may be an unprecedented pow-wow, of sorts.
The group run will be at 6:15 p.m. today at the Charleston Harbor Fish House restaurant at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant and is open to anyone.
Mike McKenna, the club’s vice president of programs, reached out to various stores and invited them to join in the community group run. He was inspired to start the effort for two reasons.
While living in New York, he participated in group runs with an array of runners with “The Reservoir Dogs,” which meet at Central Park’s reservoir for group runs in the park. Second, he saw large turnouts at community runs in Charleston earlier this year in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and in memory of Peyton Moore, a 9-year-old who died in June after complications from a seizure.
Granted, those runs drew people for a common catharsis, but McKenna sees running, regardless of ability, as the common bond.
He says the group run is a step toward bringing everyone together. Considering the various fitness levels of runners, how does that work? Slower runners start first and faster a bit later for a three-mile run within Patriots Point.
Ideally, everyone finishes at about the same time and has an opportunity to socialize afterward over food and drinks at the restaurant.
Depending on its success, McKenna hopes to turn it into a monthly event, or better, a weekly event, that roves to accessible, group run-friendly locations around the area.
For now, he wants to keep it simple and see how it goes.
In the same category of experimentation, a running classic, the mile, is trying to make a comeback in Charleston, as it seems to be doing in other parts of the country (see the current edition of Runner’s World).
At 8 a.m. Saturday, the Academic Magnet High School cross country team will be hosting the inaugural Magnet Mile race, which is open to all ages, on the school campus at 5109-A W. Enterprise St. in North Charleston.
The announcement for the Magnet Mile popped up just weeks after the Charleston Marathon first publicized the Montague Mile, to be held Sept. 15 in North Charleston.
Academic Magnet teacher and running coach Brian Johnson says that while the Magnet Mile was in the works for a while before marathon organizers announced Montague, he’s promoting the Magnet Mile as a “low-cost ‘tune-up’ for the Montague Mile and/or racing season.”
The cost is $15 in advance and $20 on race day.
“It will not have all the frills (such as beer, Main Street feel, multiple heats) of the other mile race but will have overall and age-group awards, be well-organized and have a fun atmosphere.”
A really terrific event to encourage children to lead active lifestyles is the youth triathlon and one of the best local ones in the annual Summerville YMCA Youth Triathlon.
The fifth annual one will be at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the pool of The Ponds Farmhouse.
The older age group (ages 11-14) swims eight lengths of the pool, while the younger age group (ages 7-10) swims four lengths of the pool. The participants enter the water one at a time, at intervals of 10-15 seconds.
After finishing the swimming portion, participants exit the pool to the transition area. There they don their bike helmets, shirts and shoes and begin the biking stage of the event. The older age groups will complete two 2.5 mile laps throughout The Ponds community and the younger group does one 2.5 mile lap.
The third and final leg of the event is the run. The 11-14-year-olds run 1 mile on a trail throughout The Ponds nature conservancy, and the younger age group runs half a mile. All runners will finish at The Ponds Farmhouse.
The cost is $30. Parents can register children at either the Summerville YMCA, 140 S. Cedar St., or the facility at The Ponds, 101 Pottery Circle. Packet pick-up will be at the latter 5-8 p.m. Friday.
One may argue that the most indigenous game of the Lowcountry and Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia is half-rubber, a century-old game played with a long, narrow bat and half-spherical ball.
The game survives among devotees, namely older men who grew up playing the game and their progeny, along with organization willing to continue hosting tournaments.
Among them is the Isle of Palms Recreation Department, which will host it 15th annual Isle of Palms Half Rubber Tournament from 8 a.m. until (likely) after dark Saturday.
While the tournament is almost filled, there’s a chance teams of two to four people can still sign up. Call Ben Hull at IOP Rec at 886-8294 today to see if the event is filled.
If you’ve never seen half-rubber played and have some time to burn Saturday, it may worth stopping by the recreation fields, at 24 28th Ave., to check it out.
Reach David Quick at firstname.lastname@example.org.