Friday, May 22, 2015

They Really DO Run This Beach!

My family has vacationed at Myrtle Beach since 1990.

From my first visit, I was impressed by the warm, Gulf Stream-fueled water, the wide pristine beach, the people and their legendary Southern hospitality. My daughter, Kelly, was so impressed with the state that she attended and graduated with a Master's Degree from the University of South Carolina in 2001.

After a few years, an annual vacation to Myrtle Beach didn't seem like enough. My wife and I grew weary of nearly six months of winter in Pennsylvania, it's colorful grays and browns from November to May, snow and ice storms, polar vortexes, and potholes, potholes, potholes.

Last December we achieved our dream of owning our own slice of Myrtle Beach. We purchased a condo along an area north of the city known as the "Golden Mile."

We have taken every opportunity to occupy our condo since.

Back in 1992, a running rival, who has become one of my oldest and dearest friends, John Ausherman, randomly ran into me as our families visited a local Myrtle Beach attraction. It turned out he was staying at the condo next to mine. For years, we met at 8:00 a.m. sharp, in order to avoid the July heat, training on a 7-mile course we called, "The Arcadian Loop."

So, in February, on a visit to our condo, I reached out to the Grand Strand Running Club. I had always enjoyed running at the beach, and I wanted to find some like-minded individuals here in Myrtle.

I received emails from the club president, Roscoe Griffin. Roscoe is a knowledgeable, veteran runner, and is the ideal ambassador for the club. Everyone knows Roscoe, and if you know him, you instantly like him.

At the packet pick-up for the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February. I met some terrific club members, and it was a no-brainer for my wife and I to sign up as members as members ourselves.

Each month, club members get together for a run and a club social. In March, we ran, then dined at a local Mexican restaurant. This week, we ran along the beach, then attended a pizza party.

At the party, the club awarded scholarships to two young men from the area, who ran track and cross country and now plan to further their education. The GSRC is paying it forward to young runners.

Next month, the club social features a run followed by a Myrtle Beach Pelicans minor league baseball game.

The GSRC sponsors many local races, and, well, I'm sure to miss many of the great things they do,  so visit their website, to learn more about the club.

The GSRC has made my wife and I feel at home here in Myrtle Beach. I would highly encourage any runner who lives or visits the area to join this fine running club.

Their slogan is, "We run this beach," and they do.

To borrow from Darius Rucker, they embrace running "Southern Style."