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Become A “Wooly Syrup Chugger” By Joining The Upper Valley Running Club

Mar 23, 2015 05:15PM ● By Victoria Pipas
Have you ever wanted to be able to call yourself a “wooly syrup chugger”? If so, then you ought to consider joining the Upper Valley Running Club, a group of dedicated locals who love the thrill, consistency, competition, and camaraderie of running. The group serves runners of Western New Hampshire and Eastern Vermont, offering them the opportunity to work out with fellow runners and compete as club members. If the idea of a group of healthy, motivated people running for pleasure makes you want to lace up your sneakers, read on to learn how you can join them and be a wooly syrup chugger too!

The heart of the club, of course, is running, so meet-ups and events all involve moving your feet. The UVRC offers two workouts per week year-round. Saturday morning medium-long runs leave from Omer and Bob’s, just off the Lebanon Green, at 9am. Tuesday nights at 5:30pm offer track workouts, during the summer at the HHS or Dartmouth tracks, in the spring at the Lebanon High track, and in winter at a determined location for hill or tempo runs. More training info is available online. Also affiliated with the UVRC is a vibrant community of trail runners, a group of 306 individuals (and counting) who meet to explore the wilderness by foot. They often frequent Boston Lot, but the meet-up locations are as vast as the great outdoors itself.  

I spoke with Nancy Dunbar, one of the original UVRC runners and a current member of the UVRC social and gear committees. She speaks highly of the club’s success, in just a half-decade of existence, in generating community interest in running. “It’s gotten a lot of people in the community to come out and run; participation has really increased,” she says of the transformation. Originally, she says, the group sprang out of a crowd of people who were running track workouts together on Tuesday nights. These workouts have remained a hallmark of the club’s training.

If you want to engage your competitive urge in running, consider signing up for several of the races in the New Hampshire Grand Prix Series. As a member of the Upper Valley Running Club, your participation earns points for the group. Best of all, as a member, you can purchase Upper Valley Running Club gear and wear it at races to show your team pride. Recently, the UVRC has established itself as a “serious threat in the New Hampshire Grand Prix Series,” as Nancy puts it. This year, the club is beefing up its competition; at least 30 members have committed to two or more “away” races this season, giving the team opportunities to score higher at more-distant race locations. The UVRC set the record for the most points scored by a team at the recent St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shuffle 5K; they’re well on their way to making their mark in the series and are always looking for more participants. Nancy notes that traveling to away races is often one of the most rewarding aspects of joining the UVRC.

“We’re affiliated with Lebanon Recreation and Parks, so we have access to their van for travel. A lot of people say that it’s like being in high school again and taking the team bus to the race.” This spirit of playfulness is defining for an organization of mostly working adults and graduate students, the latter often temporary members of the Upper Valley community. But the club’s interests are geared not only toward those who have run and competed for years. In fact, Nancy is excited about the upcoming “Couch to 5K,” a UVRC training program for novices, including those who have yet to lace up a pair of running shoes. The club is just as successful at engaging past runners as it is at promoting the sport in a new generation of runners.

Besides the obvious perks of running with a fun and motivated group of people, joining the UVRC includes other notable offerings. Members receive discounts at such local businesses as Omer and Bob’s Sportshop, Bikram Yoga Upper Valley, Blue Ox Farm, and more, so you can earn the honor of sporting UVRC gear with pride at all your races!

To sign up for your membership and start running as soon as possible, visit the Upper Valley Running Club website. Happy running!

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