Howell Underground Running Team


Tonight was my first official run with the Howell Underground Running Team, also known as H.U.R.T., not to be confused with the original H.U.R.T., Hawai’i Ultra Running Team, but for my level of running, equally challenging. This group is based in Howell, Michigan, a nice small town where I’m sure most of the runners’ kids go to school together and many of the parents attend similar social functions, or at least a cold beer and tasty burger at Cleary’s Pub after a run, as we did tonight. I live in the next town over so I’m really not in the same social circle but was invited by a friend to join and thought I’d give them a try.

Technically, it wasn’t my first run with H.U.R.T. group members. I’d run a few times with Brenna & Nancy, at Bishop Lake, which is a wonderful park with great trails. A description of these trails, or Michigan in the Fall for that matter, could only be done justice by the writing talents of authors like Henry David Thoreau or Emily Dickinson. I can try to describe the spectacular bursts of color; the orange, reds, yellows, and browns, and the trails that in Spring and Summer are worn-down by the clodding of runner’s feet forming paths of dirt and tree roots but in Autumn months become covered with the same color of fallen leaves as those remaining on the trees, causing the illusion of running through a kaleidoscope tunnel.  No words I can put together would do it justice.  I love my small town, I love the woods and trails, and I love running and sharing with like-minded people.

Now, back to the other small town and H.U.R.T. Tonight’s run was changed-up a bit from their normal Monday night run because of Halloween. Jen, who is the head honcho, and seems to run this club quite efficiently, organized a fun run instead. The children were invited and got to play Halloween games with Mrs Jen while the adults zipped onto the course for a 5K night run.  We started in front of the old Courthouse and followed the same course of the previous week’s Headless Horseman Race which was the same race I had PR’ed in, two years prior.  It was nice to run it again, but it also made me a little sad to realize how much I’ve regressed in my running. Oh well, “Start Where You Are”.  We ran through neighborhoods, weaving up and down hilly blocks of old homes; the kind of homes that make you want to slow down just to admire their architecture. You can’t run by them and not crave a glass of apple cider and a thick hooded sweatshirt as you watch the porch swings sway in the autumn night air.  But we came here to run, so onward and upward.  We ran past Thompson Lake, which in and of itself is beautiful to look at with the reflections of the lights from the homes across the way. It’s a completely different view at night and for the time you’re running along it’s shore, it’s so easy to forget any misery or nagging pains you might be feeling.   We continued through the cemetery and I found myself wondering how much peace, with all the clattering of feet, we were allowing the tenants to rest in, this night.  From there, we headed back to the courthouse to round up the 5K. Brenna and I decided to run an additional two miles; she needed extra mileage for an upcoming half marathon and I just wanted to keep running #forrestgump.

To wind down the night, Jen had reserved space for us to eat and drink and socialize at Cleary’s Pub, a favorite watering hole for the locals and family-friendly so kids can join as well.  I felt very comfortable and welcomed by the table of new runner friends I shared a drink with. At one point, a sweet little future runner of about 8, realized I had no food in front of me and said, “you can share our pizza, we don’t mind.” This is the good-stuff of small towns. From the gathering on the Courthouse lawn, the 5k turned 5 mile run, and the sharing hearts of 8-year olds, I really enjoyed the evening.  I’m looking forward to many future runs with H.U.R.T. and hope to keep making wonderful memories and creating new blog stories with this small town running team.

Swim, Bike, Run, Breathe, Live and Love ~ Vicky


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