Locals share their love of running for National Running Day, June 4

Stephen Armstrong leaps at the finished line as Luis Gonzalez points to Armstrong at the Navy Yard. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Tomorrow, June 4, is National Running Day, a coast-to-coast celebration of running. On this day, longtime runners reaffirm their love of running, while beginners kick off a lifetime and life-changing commitment. Organizers encourage runners to join in by planning a run, spreading the running bug to a friend, signing up for a race, or setting a new goal.

In the interest of spreading the running bug, we talked to local power players in our running community to find out why they run. Whether it’s to unplug, stay in shape, or help others — here, in one loaded sentence, they share their enthusiastic love of running:

David April, President of Fishtown Beer Runners: “I run because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment, especially on those days when nothing has been accomplished.”

Ross Martinson, co-founder of Team Philly Race Training and co-owner of Philadelphia Runner: “Through my 20's I ran because I loved to race, now I run because I love how I feel when I'm not running.”

Melissa Wilcox, Achilles Philadelphia Chapter President: “I run to help others achieve more than they ever thought possible – with the added perk of developing lifelong friendships as we push ourselves to our outermost limits together. (I also run so that after a marathon, I can polish off an entire Euphoria Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Sundae without an ounce of guilt.)”

Scott Crossin, Executive Director of Back on My Feet Philadelphia: “I run to help others move their lives forward, which in turn makes mine exponentially more rewarding and FUN!”

Sarah Walmsley, co-founder of Team Philly Race Training: “I love to run because of the shape it gives my over 40 legs!”

Garth Reid, Achilles Philadelphia volunteer guide: “Nothing quiets the noise, hustle, and confusion that occurs between my two ears on any given day like going for a run."

Vanessa Nedrick, Black Girls RUN! Philadelphia chapter co-ambassador: "I run to outrun diabetes."

Heather McDanel, Director of Students Run Philly Style: “I run because it keeps my mind sharp.”

Kinzey Lynch, visually-impaired athlete with Achilles Philadelphia: “Running is the microcosm of the struggles that we all deal with in life and how we continue to push forward and not give up. “

Deneen Young, Black Girls RUN! Philadelphia chapter co-ambassador: "I run to save my life!"

To celebrate National Running Day, join one of these standing Wednesday group runs (all paces and levels are welcome):

November Project Philadelphia

November Project is teaming up with Run215 to help you celebrate National Running Day and Philly Beer Week! All you have to do is bring a pair of old sneakers to donate to Project HOME, join in on their weekly workout and then after you've burned some calories, you'll score an awesome brew from Southern Tier.
Start: Art Museum Steps at 6:25 a.m.

Philadelphia Runner University City 

Join Philadelphia Runner and the Rock N Roll Half Marathon crew for the second annual National Running Day Run to Rita’s on South Street for free water ice. RSVP here.
Start: 3621 Walnut Street at 6 p.m. 

West Philly Runners

West Philly’s biggest running club does three different distances each week (typically 2,4, and 6 miles) and usually grabs drinks somewhere afterward.
Start: 45th and Locust Streets at 6:30 p.m.

Southwest Center City Run Club

If you've been thinking about joining Southwest Center City Run Club, this Wednesday would be a great day to give them a try. Meet the outside of City Fitness for a casual group run, followed by drinks at Ten Stone.
Start: 21st and South Streets at 6:30 p.m. 

Fairmount Running Club

Join the Fairmount Running Club for their weekly “comfort run” — 4 to 6 miles at a relaxed pace on one of Philly’s most iconic running routes, Kelly Drive.
Start: 2023 Fairmount Avenue at 6:45 p.m.

South Philly Striders

South Philly Striders bring runners together to train in a fun and safe environment. Wednesday’s group runs feature a 3-mile out-and-back on the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Start: 6th and Race Streets at 7:00 p.m.

Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with our readers? Email Sports Doc at sportsdoc@philly.com with details.

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