DiscoverNEPA is teaming up with Wyoming Valley Striders, a nonprofit running club based in Luzerne County. The group hosts races and events throughout the year, as well as a weekly informal running group. Stay tuned to this series for racing news, training programs, and motivation to exercise alongside a welcoming community of social runners and athletes.
Wyoming Valley Striders Hosts Weekly Group Runs
The sport of running is often described as a “community” and in NEPA, this rings true. The Wyoming Valley Striders are fortunate to host various distance races and events throughout the year that helps contribute to this sense of belonging, including our Saturday morning group runs (aka informal meet-ups). They have been a fantastic way for runners (and walkers) to meet like-minded people and maybe even have someone walk away with a new fitness partner and friend. We recently spoke with three participants.
Cassidy Grimm, from Wilkes-Barre, has attended almost all of our group runs since their inception in 2023. “I’ve always been more of a social runner. Running can be a solitary sport, but when you start to attend races and join running groups, you find out that it’s more of a community,” she said.
Jane Leonard from Dallas participated in our Couch to 5K training program last spring and has attended many of the meet-ups. “The group runs have been a way to keep me on track with my running and stay motivated,” she added.
We are always thrilled to meet new runners and see new faces. Originally from Louisiana and a 2019 LSU graduate, Connor Dillian recently relocated from South Carolina to Scranton. Connor was looking to continue his fitness journey after getting back into running post high school. He heard about our club on Strava, a fitness app, and attended his first group run in December.
“Everyone is really nice, especially with being new to the area. I’ve been told about different runs like the 10K in Berwick next month,” says Connor. Cassidy added, “I’ve met some of my best friends running. I continue to meet great people at the group runs. Very few people show up and say, “I’m here to set a PR”. Almost everyone I talk to says they show up to meet people and have a good time.” Jane went on to say, “everyone is friendly when new people show up and we tell a little about ourselves. No one ever feels unwelcome.”
From the levees in Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and Wyoming to the D&L trail in Mountain Top and White Haven, our various locations also include Harveys Lake and Penn State Wilkes-Barre, providing running enthusiasts with different options each week.
“That’s one of the best things about running, you can do it anywhere. Plus, we get different turnouts depending on where we run,” said Cassidy.
All are welcome to our meet-ups and there is no pressure to stay with the group. Connor mentioned it boils down to what he wants to accomplish that day. He will break away if he is doing a hard run or will stick with the group if he’s recovering. Since all fitness levels show up, Jane often runs with someone at her own pace if others are faster than her.
When describing our club, Connor was complimentary to note it was the first time he has seen a formal organization and a nonprofit such as ours. “It makes you feel like you are part of a family,” he concluded.