A Running Start to 2023

There are many reasons why Charleston has become a premier running location.

Charlestonians love to run, a lot. Given the mild climate, flat terrain, sweeping views, and opportunities to get social, it’s easy to understand why.

Consider the benefits to your body and your mind alone. “Being outside is always good for your mental health,” insisted Diane Errington, President of the Charleston Running Club which helped start two of the area’s largest races in the 1970s, the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Kiawah Marathon. “You work your body, you free your mind, and it just makes you feel better. Once you’ve started any type of physical activity, it’s pretty hard to stop,” she cautioned. “You will crave it after a while.” 

It’s a scientific fact that physical activity stimulates chemicals in our brains that make us feel less stressed, more relaxed. Maybe that’s why there are so many happy people in Charleston.

As Charleston continues to grow, so does running. “When Covid closed pools and gyms, people took to the streets to run,” observed Errington. Justin Hart, Manager of Fleet Feet in Carnes Crossroads noted, “In addition to an explosion in population, we have seen new industries making their home in Charleston and promoting healthy lifestyles and step challenges as part of their network benefits.” 

Bear in mind the perks a running community has to offer. Yes, running comes with its own village! “The running community is gracious and always willing to help runners of all levels and abilities," declared Errington. “Group runs are a great way to meet fellow runners and walkers and share experiences.” She pointed to several groups the Charleston Running Club offers, as well as Fleet Feet, who have the official training program for the Bridge Run. Jennifer Roberts, Marketing Coordinator for Fleet Feet explained that an 11-week program is offered with group workouts twice a week. The 10K Cooper Bridge Run has cemented Charleston as the running destination each April. “Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to ‘get over it’?” Errington laughed, alluding to the race adage.

Be mindful not to disregard the basics, like being kind to yourself and investing in a good pair of shoes. “Patience is key: start slow and work your way up,” said Errington. “Start with a walk-run routine and slowly decrease the time you walk. Your lungs, joints and ligaments will thank you.” As for shoes, Roberts is continually surprised by the amount of people running in the wrong size and type of shoe for their feet. “It really makes a world of difference,” she promised.

What to Run This January

Jan 1 PJ Run the Landing 5K

Start at Charles Towne Landing in your pajamas, enjoy river and marsh views, and stay for soup and cornbread. Shirts and awards recycled from various races. Additionally, there is a Fun Run for kids.

Jan 8 Cooper River Bridge Run Kids Run and Family Festival

It’s never too early to get excited about ‘getting over’ the annual Bridge Run (April 1). Inspire the whole family at this free fun event at Stoney Park. Activities kick off with a Mascot Race, Toddler Waddler, and 400-meter track race.

Jan 14: PNC Charleston Half Marathon, Shrimp & Grits 5K, Youth Marathon

Starting at Burke High School, the course winds through Charleston and ends just outside Firefly Distillery and features local acts along the run to motivate the runners. The 5K also takes place that morning and the 1-mile youth marathon starts at 1:00. Proceeds benefit local non-profit Engaging Creative Minds.

Jan 28: Charlie Post Classic 5K and 15K

If you enjoy long walks on the beach, this is the race for you! Held in Sullivan’s Island for the past 35 years, the Charlie Post Classic offers the ability to run a distance not commonly available as well as the traditional 5K. Hosted by the Charleston Running Club to benefit the Charlie Post Scholarship Fund.


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