The South Philly Striders running club was founded by Kathy O'Neill and Janine Hawley about 6 years ago. At the time, the club began because there was no organized running group east of Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia. Currently, the South Philly Striders remain the only running group in the area. While the initial group of runners lived south of South Street, runners from Old City, Center City, Northern Liberties and Fairmount joined the ranks.
The group runs usually attract between 5 to 12 runners for each outing. Three of the scheduled group runs (6:15 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. on Saturday) start at Front and South and usually proceed north up Columbus Boulevard to Penn Treaty Park and back (about a 5.5 mile run). Occasionally, the run goes south along running trails by the Delaware River or sometimes east across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden. The 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night run meets at 6th and Race and runs across the bridge and back (3 miles).
Many members use the group runs as preparation for upcoming races. In particular, the Wednesday night bridge run allows runners to test themselves at any speed while ascending and descending the bridge. Additionally, members range between all ages and abilities. Some are as young as 23; others such as club regular Loren Thomas, who has run over 50 marathons or ultramarathons, are in their 60s.
Anyone interest in joining South Philly Striders can simply show up! More up-to-date information on social events and group runs is available through their website, southphillystriders.com or their Facebook page. You can also check them out on Twitter through @sphillystriders!