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The Stony Brook Running Club after a NIRCA club meet in October at Binghamton University. COURTESY OF STONY BROOK RUNNING CLUB

The Stony Brook Running Club is a great club to join if you love running without the commitment of a Division I university track team.

Founded by Charlie Bendernagel and a group of dedicated runners, the Running Club became officially recognized by Undergraduate Student Government in fall 2014. As a recreational club, its purpose is to unite runners of all abilities.

While the university track team has regular daily practices, members of the running club meet three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.

When asked about what his favorite aspects of being in the club were, sophomore biochemistry major Nick Bjelke said “having the flexibility to run and workout on my time.” Running has been a favorite pastime for Bjelke for years. In high school, he was a member of his school’s cross-country team.

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This semester, the club attended a track meet at St. John’s University and a cross country meet at Binghamton University, where the men placed second and the women placed in the top five. The club hosted Festival of Lights, an event to gather support for the Stony Brook fitness community, on Nov. 6.

“I hope that our club continues to grow and establish better connections with the campus community, to promote fitness and well-being amongst our members,” said Jacob Evans, a junior computer science major, who is a founding member and secretary of the club.

Another goal of the club is “to provide a healthy outlet into the fitness community without requiring too much time,” said Zachary Milack, founding member and president of the club, who is a junior physics major. Milack participated in his high school varsity track team for four years. He’s had to give up running for the past seven months due to a herniated disc he sustained while running a Long Island marathon in May. However, he is patiently waiting until it is safe for him to take the track again.

The running club is looking forward to competing in meets through the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association, or NIRCA. There are currently 20 members in the club, which comprises hurdlers, sprinters, long distance runners, long jumpers and triple jumpers.

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Though the club is a way for individuals to de-stress and engage in a sport without full commitment, Milack said one member who wanted to take running more seriously moved up to the university’s track team, while another member who was once on the university team decided to leave the team and join the running club.

Due to a lack of funds, the club has not been able to attend many meets this semester, but it is upgrading to a bigger budget next semester, which will grant it the opportunity to attend more meets and one day even host its own meet.

When asked what he sees as the future of the Stony Brook Running Club, Milack said “exponential growth, more events and eventually a home meet.”

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