Get Steppin’ With the Monon Track Club
Writer / Robert Noah Torres
Photographer / Michael Durr
What started as an expression of creativity and communal integrity has grown into the Monon Track Club (MTC), a running club in central Indiana that meets every Tuesday to run on the Monon Trail. Beyond that, it is a resilient group of runners who support local businesses and each other through it all.
“Basically it is a running club in central Indiana,” says Garrett Lawton, founder of the group.
The MTC started as an apparel brand, but even before that solidified, Lawton had an interest in using his background in graphic design. He wanted to create shirts for some of his running mates and himself to train in. Its name was created organically, during a conversation Lawton and friends were having during a group run. From there Lawton created a logo, and after connecting with local clothing manufacturers, he printed some shirts that were a hit within his running community.
The first clothing release that Lawton put out was in the fall of 2018 and included three shirts and a sweatshirt. Since then the MTC has evolved into a running club that offers a much wider variety of athletic apparel, which can be found online and in partnership with several local retailers.
The MTC is made possible by locals whose persistence and support of the brand has helped it grow into the communal running club it is today. For nearly two years the club was solely an apparel brand, but in response to the community it became a running club at the beginning of 2020, just in time for a global pandemic. As the apparel brand gained popularity, so too did the question of what the MTC was, and if it was a real club. Lawton recognized this, and with support from friends and the local community, he made it into a club.
The first official club run was about two weeks prior to the pandemic-related lockdowns, but still had around 50 people. In the second week the numbers dropped to about six, after which Lawton decided to put a hold on the meetings. The club opened back up in June of 2021, and since then it has grown in numbers and presence, even having a tent at the last Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Club members meet Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Half Liter BBQ, where various predefined routes are discussed and runners take off in groups.
To join the MTC, simply show up at Half Liter BBQ and join the fun. There is no specific leader of the MTC, and with or without Lawton the group runs on Tuesdays. This decentralized method hits on why the club has been so resilient – it was made locally and survives by locals. The resilience of the club is largely due to both Lawton and the strong community he brought together.
Although the club opened back up in June of last year, within the past month it has gained momentum. Even though the future is still uncertain, the Monon Track Club is excited to see what happens in the next year for the club and athletic apparel brand. The club aims to increase its presence at marathons and runs in Indiana, and is looking to offer an even wider variety of running gear. On top of this, the beginning of April will be the start of a month-long friendly running competition dubbed Monon Vs Everybody. The competition includes five different runs parceled out along the Monon, which participants have to complete by the end of April. Rewards and raffle prizes will be given to those who complete the competition and those with the fastest known times. Times can be submitted to the MTC website where they will be posted. More information regarding the event can be found on the official club website.
“We are excited to see what happens with the next year,” Lawton says.
The Monon Track Club’s growth and change is directed by a unique balance of communal input and individual integrity, both from its founder and every person who decides to attend on Tuesdays. You can visit their website at monontrackclub.com, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. If you are interested in joining the club, come out to Half Liter BBQ at 5301 Winthrop Avenue in Indianapolis at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, ready to run and have some fun.