New to Essex County and looking for a running buddy or a friend? What about a whole troupe? You’ll want to check out the Essex Running Club.
“ERC is a powerful running community in Northern New Jersey. Anyone is welcome to join us,” says Tracy Keller, president. Now into its 33rd year, the Montclair-based club is well known throughout Essex County. “We’re not just about racing or running fast. We are a group of active people who want to be around others that share our same interest or passion for running—and even for walking. Some people may be intimidated by a running ‘club’ but there’s no pressure here. We have members that train to improve through speed work and long runs and we have members that simply want to stay fit and have fun.”
The group is a great way for people new to the area to make friends. In fact, members often plays matchmaker.
“Being part of ERC is a cool way to meet people and learn about the area—and to find your way around the streets of town. We can always connect you with someone that runs the same pace,” she explains. Tracy also helps connect people with similar schedules. So, if you need to run before work, there’s a good chance she knows others who need to do the same.
Every Summer the group gets together on Wednesday evenings at a runner’s home for a weeknight run/walk followed by a social hour. In the Winters they do the same but on a weekend morning. “The host maps the route options (2, 4, or 6 miles) and everyone meets at the house to head out together, then afterward they gather to socialize—and eat.” Hosts provide everything from bagels and coffee to pretty impressive, homemade spreads with seasonal themes.
Membership to the group costs $25 for the year though not all of the events are members-only. The annual dues get you access to coached speed workouts, the monthly e-newsletter, the club’s private Facebook page, special events like the annual Wine & Cheese Party, and a discount on the ERC Marathon Bus that transports runners and spectators to the NYC Marathon each November.
To find out more about other weekly run options, trail runs, and activities visit EssexRunning.org.