Members of a local running group are having an unintended effect on observers, Dumb Runner has learned, encouraging everyone who sees them to go for a run—alone.
The group, which comprises roughly a dozen friends and acquaintances, meets every Saturday morning for a run of 10 to 20 miles.
“They never look very happy,” said Phoebe Kudrow, a barista at the coffeehouse where the group meets. “They show up one at a time and just sort of stand around in silence until they leave for their run. No smiling, no joking. Nothing.”
“It’s a little weird,” she said. “Maybe they relax a little during the actual run.”
They do not, several sources said.
“One Saturday a few weeks ago, when I was starting my own run, about six people from this group paused near me for a water break,” said Ross Schwimmer, a local runner training for his first half-marathon. “I asked them if they run every Saturday, and one of them looked right at me and said, ‘Yes. You should run with us.’”
“That doesn’t sound so bad now, when I tell it,” Schwimmer continued, “but this person was just… odd. Lifeless, almost. Her eyes were vacant. To be honest, it creeped me out.”
“I could have sworn this one guy, behind her, had just been crying.”
Another witness echoed Schwimmer’s sentiments.
Rachel Aniston, a dog walker, said she often sees the group in Chandler Park on Saturday mornings, and its members “don’t exactly radiate joy.”
“I remember the first time I saw them,” she recalled. “I was walking four or five dogs, pretty early in the morning, and I gave them a cheerful ‘Good morning!’ And… nothing, from any of them. Not even eye contact. They all had their eyes down, just plodding along, like a platoon of technical-shirted automatons.”
Aniston, who described herself as a casual runner, said she’d considered joining a running club a few times—before she encountered this particular group.
“For now,” she said, “I think I’ll stick to running alone.”