New group up and runningPublished 10:30pm Friday, April 27, 2012
When Andrea McHugh moved to Suffolk from Michigan last September, she didn’t let not knowing anyone stop her from doing one of her favorite things.
McHugh has been running since graduating high school and prefers it as a social activity rather than a solo quest.
So, new to the area, she started her own running group on the website www.meetup.com, which allows users to start and publicize their own groups of all descriptions.
“I didn’t know anyone; none of my neighbors were runners,” McHugh said. “I was looking for friends to run with, and then I found the meetup site.”
The group has grown rapidly in a relatively short time.
“I started it from scratch the first week of October, and now we have 60 members,” McHugh said.
Members of Cornerstone Striders, as McHugh has christened the group, generally meet for runs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and either Saturdays or Sundays at 7 a.m.
The group caters to runners of all abilities, McHugh said, running two- or three-mile loops that the better runners repeat for more of a challenge.
“Our motto is ‘No runner left behind,’” she said. “The faster runners circulate back to bring all the slower runners up so we can move together as one herd of people.”
Members of the group are at varying levels in their training and physical fitness, but they all support one another in their journey.
“Some people are training (for various race distances) … but we all come together regardless of their fitness level,” she said.
Instead of running the same courses every week, members suggest locations on the group webpage.
Sunday’s run, for instance, is at “Jeanie’s House” on Hillpoint Road. The next midweek run is planned for Pitchkettle Farm.
“We have even done trail runs in Smithfield at Windsor Castle Park,” McHugh said.
“We often make it out to North Suffolk.”
Although it is a Suffolk group, sometimes runs are farther afield, such as the Virginia Beach boardwalk or Mount Trashmore, she said.
“Rather than each driving individually, we like to carpool,” she said.
Members don’t shy away from a competitive challenge, despite the group’s solid social dimension.
“We always have something on the marathon board to train for,” McHugh said. “We go to a lot of Virginia Beach races and we have an event in Williamsburg that we plan on doing as a team.”
McHugh herself said she has been running marathons for about the past six years.
Details on the group can be found at www.meetup.com/Suffolk-Area-Runners.