Have you ever been driving or walking/running around your neighborhood, which you thought you knew pretty well, only to discover a hidden trail head or beautifully tree-lined road just begging for someone to run up it? That’s how I feel about the Sunstone Running Club. Here was this group of friendly runners, going on group runs in the same neighborhoods I run in on a regular basis!
Unlike many running clubs, where you pay a registration fee and get a shirt, Sunstone RC is just a group of runners that runs together. It’s a small club – around 50 members – but members tend to be very active. They also tend to all know each other. I learned about Sunstone RC a few months ago, but having a newborn and a three-year-old, I didn’t join them until just last week. I was a little nervous that I would be seen as “the new kid” while long-term members chatted among themselves, but that worry was quickly put to rest and the group went out of their way to make me feel welcome.
Their runs include two weeknight runs of 4-6 miles and a Saturday morning long run of varying distance, but usually 10 miles. If you’d like to join them, just show up and introduce yourself! The group was co-founded by a very friendly runner named Hai Nguyen, who has a number of marathons and shorter race distances under his belt. Be sure to bring a headlamp and a reflective vest during this time of year, as Nguyen maps out routes that often include trails and paths through neighborhood parks which aren’t very well-lit.
Sunstone Running Club group runs:
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 6:30p from Sexton Mountain Elementary School at 15645 SW Sexton Mountain Drive (near Murray/Weir) in Beaverton
Saturdays – Routes vary from week to week, based on team member input, weather, and what sounds like fun. They often stick around for coffee after the run.
What I liked so much about running with them was that they really take an interest in the people that are there running, not just how fast or how far everyone runs. About a third (or more) of their members work at Intel – which makes sense, because it was started originally by people that work there – but they don’t talk about work on the runs (that I heard).
One of their members named Heather is a personal trainer, and she reminds the group to stretch and do dynamic warm-ups. On Thursday last week, we started out on the run and stopped about a half-mile later to do some stretches. I’ve never experienced this at a group run! On the run, Nguyen checks in with each runner to see how they are doing, which is really neat. We then regrouped two more times so make sure everyone was feeling good. The coolest thing, though, is that the faster runners, upon reaching the regroup location, double back and run in with the last runner.
I hope to see some Run Oregon readers at a Sunstone RC group run!