Unlike many schools, Wesleyan has not historically had any organized alternative to the varsity cross country and track teams for less competitive runners. This changed yesterday, Monday, Oct. 17, as the new Wesleyan running club held its first meeting. WEStride, created by sophomores Riley Hawkins-Hecock and Grant Tillinghast, is a very informal running group that meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:30 p.m. outside Van Vleck Observatory and does not require any official signup, just attendance. The Argus sat down with its co-founders to learn more.

The Argus: What’s your vision for this club?

Grant Tillinghast: Informal, noncompetitive running.

Riley Hawkins-Hecock: A very all-inclusive club that’s designed to provide an outlet for people that run at Wes, a place for them to run as a group. That’s definitely our main goal. We also want to provide overall health and fitness tips that are running based to a community of people.

GT: Yeah, we want a social community and we want to get people who run by themselves and want to run with a group, or people who don’t ever run and want to have some sort of chill space that they can run in.

RHH: For people of all mileage and speed or athleticism.

A: Can you talk about the structure and organization of the club?

GT: We’re meeting at the circle drive by Van Vleck at the top of the hill on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays at 4:30, presumably until 5:30 or 6.

RHH: Also, we’re going to have some sort of GroupMe or other group messaging system to help people who can’t run at those times find running partners.

A: So, you’ll meet at the same place and then go off on separate runs depending on what mileage and speed people are looking to do?

RHH: Yeah, we hope to have multiple groups of people of differing levels who can do different runs and paces. A good portion of our goal as well is to explore and teach people new places to run around Middletown. As a former Wesleyan runner I know many different loops and trails and so forth around Middletown already, so I’ll be providing people with that knowledge. We also just want to do exploratory runs together as a group to find more places and hopefully discover more fun routes to run.

GT: As a recent surgery patient, I’ll be a buddy for the slowest groups, in the beginning at least, to help inexperienced runners get on their feet. I think we’ll just decide who wants to run for two or three miles, who wants to run for eight miles, and just split up into groups and go off on our own.

A: How can people get involved?

RHH: Email, and just coming to the practices. Even if you come and can’t run that day, if you just stop by and say hi we can put you on the [email list] or add you to the OrgSync. We have decent interest right now but people’s regularity is uncertain, and we’d like to build a pretty sizable community. Whoever wants to join with any consistency is perfectly fine, but we do want to have a pretty stable group of people at some point.

A: Do you ever want to compete as a group?

GT: I think that’s a possibility eventually.

RHH: Possibly not as a group, but providing people with opportunities to run and race at different events. Eventually, I think we want to get people in a good racing shape and mindset. But first I think we need to focus on establishing the group dynamics and having a solid base of people before we do anything like that. There is a half marathon at Wes in the springtime that I know some people wanted to train for.

GT: There are also various 5Ks and other distances that happen around Middletown throughout the year.

RHH: Yeah, so providing people with information about that is definitely a goal. People can choose which races and however many races they want to, and hopefully then our club can eventually involve helping these people train for distances that they want to race in. But that is farther down the road.

For more information or other concerns, contact gtillinghast@wesleyan.edu or rhawkinsheco@wesleyan.edu.

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