The Fellowship of Sweat in a Spartanburg Running Club

Most Tuesday evenings for the last couple of years, you’ll find me running with the RJ Rockers Run Club. This event, hosted by Partners for Active Living and RJ Rockers, has become one of my can’t-miss dates. There are usually 20 or so runners who take on the 3-mile course with an option to add a mile. We run through Hampton Heights or Converse Heights or Wofford. It’s a pretty strong group of runners, and every week, it seems, there are a couple of new people. We encourage and push and hold each other accountable.

Or maybe we all want to come out on Tuesdays because we’ve come to like each other. Icee pops and water are free, and the beer Rockers sells helps support our mission. The community we create is real. Don’t get me wrong—I do most of my running solo. But as a social animal, I still like my group runs. We talk about everything and nothing, and the miles pass by sometimes unnoticed.

If you look around Spartanburg, you’ll notice more of these kinds of groups—social events where people exercise. There are other running groups that meet at different places, several bike rides from various locations every week, workout groups that coordinate through social media, and I see groups of friends walking or running on the MBF Rail Trail every day. When we talk about building community, this is part of the story.

Getting out takes discipline, but the “good-mornings” and waves on the Rail Trail, the fellowship of sweat, the beer and icee pops after a summer run, the “you-can-do-its” from your buddies and maybe the responsibility of showing up keep you going.

Learn more about the RJ Rockers Run Club.

Ned Barrett is the trails coordinator at Partners for Active Living (PAL), a non-profit in Spartanburg, SC, that addresses the root causes of cardiovascular disease: physical inactivity and poor nutrition. For the past eight years, he's been instrumental in getting Spartanburg's trails system where it is today, in addition to PAL's bike share programs. He's a true supporter of bicycling as he rides his bike to work every day, and has been getting around by bike and foot for close to 56 years of his life. "From the freedom it provided as a kid to the benefits it offers now, walking, biking and running through the world gives me the more complete perspective of my surroundings that I seek. All our transportation choices should be safe and accessible, and all modes should be provided for equitably."



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