Every Thursday evening they gather at Fort Lauderdale‘s Running Wild store to lace up their sneakers to pound the pavement. Rain or shine, all types of runners, from the novice to the serious roadrunner, come together for a workout and are treated at the end.
The Funky Fun Run started over two years ago when former Westin Beach Resort general manager Bruce Roy and Running Wild owner Don Wennerstrom collaborated to put together a free social event. The runners or walkers meet at the Running Wild store on Sunrise Boulevard and enjoy a picturesque 5-kilometer route along the beach on A1A. The destination is the Westin Beach Resort, where the participants are rewarded with free Funky Buddha Beer, fresh fruit and music at a poolside reception. The runners have the option of taking a shuttle back from the hotel to Running Wild.
The regular event is an opportunity to network and socialize while enjoying the health benefits. The number of runners can range from 50 to 150, depending on weather.
Lori Ann Young, a resident of Pompano Beach, is a self-professed non-athlete who had never had any inclination to run.
“About a year and a half ago, I decided I was becoming too sedentary and needed to do something, so I came into the store to buy some sneakers and was introduced to the Funky Fun Run,” Young said. “After work I come right here every Thursday and get the benefits of more energy, better shape and the social interaction from all walks of life. This motivated me to push myself and run a half marathon in New York City, and I never ran in my life.”
Young and other runners have similar stories from their journey to getting fit and healthy. There are words of encouragement and support from other runners, and a strong camaraderie has developed among the group.
“I’m a native of Fort Lauderdale and this is such a positive way to bring the local and transient crowd together,” Young said. “You get to meet people from everywhere and it is such a great way to network. I’m planning on doing the A1A half marathon along Fort Lauderdale Beach in February. Before this I couldn’t even run a mile, so this is just a fantastic accomplishment.”
Tuan Nguyen started coming to the Funky Fun Run about two years ago just for the enjoyment of running. The Pompano Beach resident met Wennerstrom during the runs and eventually became an employee of Running Wild.
“This is one of the best running groups in South Florida, and not just because of the free beer,” Nguyen smiled. “You get an opportunity to network with so many people, who have become friends and even mentors. We all share the same common love for running. The popularity of the Funky Run continues to grow as people are spreading the word.”
The Funky Fun Run starts Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at Running Wild, 2563 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For further information, visit runningwild.com or call 954-565-9400.
Original link: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-esb-sp-funkyfunrun-1025-20171024-story.html