Residents of Prince George’s County come together weekly to walk, run and train not just for a healthier future, but also for next month’s annual Springburst 10K race.
The Prince George’s Running Club (PGRC), now in its 36th year, brings an uplifting energy to those newcomers to the organization. Part of the club’s mission is health and fitness, fueling its efforts to get as many people out and running with their supportive members.
Yvonne Hill, vice president and a coach of the current 10K training team, shares the nature of the group and efforts put in place to encourage newcomers who may consider wanting to get active.
“We’re definitely diverse — we take all cases, and you don’t have to be a professional runner,” Hill said of the group, which currently boasts roughly 23 participants. “We have the walking group, and everything in between,”
The group has a Running Start 5K program, facilitated by professional coaches and structured to get people started before ramping up to lengthier marathons. The training programs run on Tuesdays for track-speed workouts at the University of Maryland’s Keyhoe Track, Thursdays at Herbert Wells Ice Rink for straight runs, and Saturdays for long-distance runs starting at the Bowie IHOP on Annapolis Road.
Club President Ndegwa Kamau, affirms the positive energy and camaraderie he witnesses while working with new and longtime group members.
“The good thing about the club that I love mostly is it’s always like a family,” said Kamau, now in his sixth year as president. “The first day I met them at the track, everyone was giving each other hugs and everyone’s happy.”
The group also holds a summer fun-run event at the Buddy Attick Lake Park in Greenbelt. The family-friendly event allows attendees to run or simply walk together for exercise and movement.
“A lot of people here are either just starting out, trying to figure out how to run, how to get into it, or some people are trying to get back into it,” said Sharon Bollers, director for the upcoming Springburst 10K race. “Running is one of those things that you can do on your own at any point and time, but you come be part of a run club because the community — it’s a lot of that, if you want to call it, positive peer pressure.”
Several members of the group echo sentiments that they never imagined themselves being such active runners or participating in large marathons prior to joining the group.
“People have seen health success being a part of the club,” Bollers said. “A lot of it is natural weight loss.”
This year’s 10K race, scheduled for April 18, will be held at the Glenn Dale Splash Park trail. Those interested can contact the group via their website (www.PGRC.org).
“People are kind of afraid to run,” Hill said. “We look at runners as being these ultra-marathoners, and that’s not true. I needed somebody to kind of get me to the next level. Never did I ever think that I would be running marathons, ever. Or training people to run them.”