Saturday mornings on the square in downtown Troy are beginning to come alive with running groups preparing for the approaching racing season. At 7:30 AM, the square seems to still be asleep but by 8:00 AM, clusters of people in running gear gather outside local businesses to run a variety of distances and paces.

Up and Running in Troy is a business dedicated to the sport of running and offers group sessions for free with local trainers on Wednesday nights at 6:00 PM and Saturday mornings at 8:00 AM. Debbie Carter, one of the coaches for Up and Running, started working for store owner Susie Stein 2 years ago after shopping at the store in south Dayton. Carter confidently champions the benefits of running activities for the members of her group. “Depending on the weather, we get anywhere from 5 to 15 people,” Carter said. “They’re at different levels but it helps to have the support of people just willing to get out there on the road with you.”

According to Carter, the Up and Running training groups run by intervals of time, not by distance. Often, they will walk several minutes and then run for several minutes, a training practice that has been successful in acclimating beginners to the sport. For this group, the culmination of their training will be a race in Xenia on May 18th called the Purple Passion 5k, an awareness run for pancreatic cancer. “Right now we’re usually running about 3 to 4 miles every time we go out,” Carter said, “We started the running group about a month and a half ago and, so far, it’s going strong.” Despite the cold temperatures, Carter’s group on Saturday was as optimistic as it was diverse. Mothers of young children and senior citizens ran side-by-side around the square toward the levy.

Just around the corner from Up and Running, another group of serious runners meets on the streets of Troy every Saturday. According to Susan Coon, barista at Winan’s on Market Street, groups ranging in size from 15 to 20 people regularly congregate outside the coffee shop to train together at 8:00 AM on Saturdays.  After a run that lasts anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, the group has coffee together in the coffee shop. “It’s a lot of fun,” Coon said. “The tradition was kinda started by the owner of Winan’s. The largest group I remember coming in here after a run was about 50 people.” Joe Riser, the owner of Winan’s in Troy is currently training for the Boston Marathon.

With races coming up in the area, including the Strawberry Festival 10k in Troy, the opportunities to train with members of the community are readily available and, potentially, very helpful. “We know training is hard when you haven’t had much experience in running,” Carter said at Up and Running. “It’s always nice to run with good people.”