Since the Cooper Fitness Runners group was formed early this year, more than 300 runners have signed up. Not everyone runs everyday, but on any given day, 20-30 or more will show up to run. The most devoted put in 30 or so miles a week, sometimes more.
The group is the brainchild of Rick Johnson, who got a Christmas gift for a free trial membership at the Cooper Fitness Center at Craig Ranch. Johnson is a long-time running coach and he quickly learned the center did not have a running club.
He approached Cara Bonney, Cooper’s Fitness director, about forming a club. Her first response was, “What’s your angle?”
They laughed, and Rick assured her it was all about putting a running group together, and it wouldn’t cost the center any money.
According to Cara, Cooper had thought of forming a running group in the past “but we had to find the right coach, then Rick came along.” Cara says the benefit to Cooper is the “sense of community we gain with the runners.”
The club slowly built up membership at the beginning, the word spreading among Cooper members and the running community. David Crothers, somewhat of a social media maven, joined in April and began spreading the word online. Soon the member numbers began to swell.
Membership in the running club is free. Cooper supports the group, but you don’t have to be a Cooper member to run. The center provides free locker room and shower access to any of the runners, even if they’re not a member. There is even a Cooper daycare service available for a reduced cost of $15 a month, no matter how many kids you have.
Rick says he typically runs over 60 miles a week. David usually tops 30. Some of the other runners in the group also belong to other running groups, like the McKinney and Frisco running clubs, and the Run On social runs. These folks wear out running shoes pretty quickly with all the miles they put in.
Generally they run the quiet streets of Craig Ranch and surrounding neighborhoods in McKinney and Frisco. During August they changed the scenery a little by running McKinney’s Erwin Park on Thursday evenings.
Posted August 19, 2015