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Runners club offers encouragement, companionship and early start

It's no easy task getting up at 5 a.m. to go running. Though with the Suncoast Striders Runners Club, it becomes a little easier.

Created in February 2002 at the James P. Gills Family YMCA in Trinity by local runner David Griner, it was a way for local runners and athletes to meet weekly and run as much or little as they want. From there, it's grown to have about 75 members on a mailing list.

"These are all morning people, really," Griner said. "But we have a social hour afterwards where we have coffee and some snacks and whether you've run 3 or 10 miles, we all sit around and enjoy some time together."

Griner says anyone who joins the group, which is free, pretty much becomes friends. He says runners are pretty outgoing, and that they do stuff together on the side.

"There's every conceivable kind of person and what I like about is that the newcomers get advice from the longer runners," Griner said.

The club meets twice a week: Thursdays at Longleaf Park at 5:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 6:30 a.m. at Starkey Park.

Griner had run the club since its inception, but took a break after a few years. After seeing it decline, he took over again in January and membership has jumped noticeably thanks to better advertisement, word of mouth and a new profile on Facebook. Griner's weekly newsletter updates each member and how much they run or have lost weight or reached a personal goal.

"We even have a lot of ladies with kids that this is there only time to get out without the kids and get a workout," Griner said. "The friendships help. I mean, who wants to get out of bed at 5 a.m.? I know I don't, but if you have 20-30 people waiting for you, then it helps and you can get up."

For information, contact Griner at (727) 808-1412 or e-mail

walk/RUN: Gulfside Regional Hospice will host the third annual Hike for Hospice 5K on Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. at Wesley Chapel District Park, 7727 Boyette Road.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mike Alstott will start the walk. Proceeds benefit Gulfside Regional Hospice. The cost is $25 for adults, and kids 10 and younger can walk for free. Hikers get a T-shirt and snacks.

To register, log onto first to register or call Jennifer Kirkland, toll-free, at 1-800-561-4883 or e-mail hikeforhospice@

For information, call (727) 845-5707 or visit

YOGA: The New Port Richey Recreation Center, 6630 Van Buren St., holds yoga fitness classes every Tuesday from 9 to 10 a.m.

The cost is $7 per class and participants must bring their own mats.

For information, call (727) 841-4560.

SHUFFLEBOARD: The Betmar Shuffleboard Club in Zephyrhills will host the World Singles International Shuffleboard Association Tournament from Oct. 14-18 at the Betmar Community shuffleboard courts.

The field will include 72 of the top tournament players from the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia, Portugal, Norway, Brazil and England.

Spectators can attend for free.

For information, e-mail Terry Rainwater at trainwater@ or visit the

POKER: The Alzheimer's Family Organization will host its Texas hold'em competition at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Aripeka Elks Lodge No. 2520, at 9135 Denton Ave., Hudson.

Tickets are $30 or two for $50. The overall winner takes home bragging rights for Pasco County, because no monetary prize can be given.

For information, call (727) 848-8888.

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Runners club offers encouragement, companionship and early start 07/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2009 11:51am]
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