Do you love the outdoors? Are you looking for a fun and affordable way to get in shape for the new year with like-minded people? Then the Grayslake Running Club (GRC) is for you.
Resident Lupe Gallardo-Kathrens, who has run in the Chicago and Boston Marathon, founded the GRC in 2005 because she wanted a group of people to run with for safety reasons and for the camaraderie.
"My vision was to establish a running club that would bring the community together in order to foster an inclusive running environment for runners of all levels."
The club, she said, embraces physical and mental well-being, safe running, friendship through running, a schedule-friendly networking system and improved quality of life for the community.
Find a running buddy
Today, the GRC has about 150 members of all experience levels who run throughout the year on their own schedule—mornings, afternoons, nights and weekends. A networking system accommodates busy lifestyles, said Gallardo-Kathrens.
"Once you become a member, you will receive access to the Grayslake Running Club's private SharePoint site. There, you communicate with runners and find running buddies with like skills and schedules."
Annual memberships are $30 for an individual; $40 for a family; and $20 for youths under 18 with parental permission. Membership also includes free clinics throughout the year and discounts at local businesses.
Gallardo-Kathrens said the club receives a steady influx of inquiries throughout the year, but new memberships increase with the new year as people set new goals for themselves.
The club has held an annual New Year's Day 5K for the past six years. The event starts in Gallardo-Kathrens' subdivision. The club even gets a Grayslake Police escort out of the neighborhood complete with lights, sirens and noise-makers.
"They lead us out of the subdivision, block traffic on Lake Street and take us down Highland Road and near Route 83 where the course turns. It’s great! Afterward, we gather at my home for food and fun. "
The friendships that are formed through club membership can last a lifetime, said Gallardo-Kathrens.
"We have an amazing group of the most supportive and inspirational members. People help you achieve your personal goals and very quickly you realize anything is possible."
Resident Barry Swann joined the GRC in 2007 to get back in shape after a few years of non-activity and for the opportunity to run with others while sharing knowledge and friendship.
"Six years later, thanks to some wonderful GRC friends and training buddies, I’ve completed 12 marathons and will be taking part in an Ironman in 2013."
Emily Maack Jones said the GRC has helped her realize her running potential. "I've made lots of good friends, had tons of laughs, and become a better runner along the way. I can't wait to see where the GRC takes me in 2013!"
No Pace Like Grayslake