Fishers Running Club Boasts More Than 130 Members, Continues to Make Community Impact
Photographer: Ron Wise
Longtime Fishers resident, Jeanette Payne, has watched the city grow from a small town to a community with an array of activity choices. However, an organized group for running seemed to take a while to come into being.
When Fishers Running Club, a volunteer-based not-for-profit group, finally began in 2016, she was one of the first to join. Today, Payne is president of the organization which now has more than 130 members, an elected board and local sponsors. Besides being a social club for runners of all levels, giving back to the community and focusing on both physical and mental health has become part of their mission.
“The original idea came from people on the board of the Geist Half Marathon,” Payne says. “They saw lots of interest in Fishers. At the time, I remember seeing fellow runners all over and thinking that a running club was definitely a missing piece that our community needed.”
The club has organized runs twice a week. Every Wednesday for their Pub Crawl, Walk, Run Series members meet at local restaurants CR Heroes, Ale Emporium Fishers and Four Day Ray Brewing, and the run 15 minutes out and then turn around to run 15 minutes back. Saturday meet-ups vary with the seasons yet always involve a 60-minute run out and back. This past winter, the group met at a café venue for their Coffee Series or Geist Half Series. The Geist K Series was held once a month in February, March and April for training and ran the same course as the Geist Half Marathon. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, members meet on Saturdays at locations such as Holland Park for the Park to Park Series. The club also sets up cheer tents at area races, too. Volunteers have water and snacks waiting for members when they cross the finish line.
“The club is truly for every kind of runner,” Payne says. “We have runners and walkers of all styles and ages. If you can put on shoes and join us, we don’t care how old you are. A few are younger kids and some are as old as 80. We have a great community of runners and we all support each other. We all like to hang out and wait around for everyone to finish.”
In its two-year history, the club has already made an impact on the community. Some of the projects it has tackled are the Toy and Clothing Drive for Foster Fairies and canned food drives for area food banks. An emphasis on improving mental health is an important initiative for the group. They have given support to Mission 22, a non-profit organization that battles veteran suicide. Their main concentration in 2018 was The Peyton Riekhof Foundation, which seeks to educate the community and schools on teen mental health issues in order to prevent suicide.
“As a group, we love giving back to our community,” Payne adds. “Mental Health is always one of our main areas of focus, and we support various mental health issues. We will have several teams participating in the Back on My Feet Relay, which combats homelessness, this year as well.”
Payne is grateful for the many partners and sponsors of all levels that support the Fishers Running Club. More than 15 organizations and businesses make contributions that range from providing snacks and water after races to donating the bright blue T-shirts that members wear. Besides the Pub Crawl, Walk, Run Series sponsors, other patrons are 131 Event Productions, Invisible Fence, Northpoint Dental Care, Road Runners Forum, Runners Club of America, Ascension St. Vincent and St. Vincent Sports Performance. One important partner is Pretzel Runner, a two-person company with an emphasis on yoga and running, that maintains the club’s website. The club also enjoys the partnership of several races that members participate in such as the Carmel Marathon, Geist Half Marathon, Indy Women’s Half Marathon and Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
Payne encourages anyone interested in running to check out Fishers Running Club and consider joining in the fun. The club plans to have multiple teams participating in two future large runs. Besides the September 22 Back on My Feet Relay at White River State Park, the 8-Hour Dream Endurance Race will be held on July 20 at Butler University.
“Exercise is a known reducer of anxiety and stress,” Payne says. “It’s definitely safer and more enjoyable to run with a group. We have great conversations while running and definitely support each other.”