NORMAN — With hearts still pounding and sweat trickling down their backs, this group of tired runners didn’t reach for water bottles but a cold round of beers — these socializers have a running problem. Every Thursday, a new group of 20-30 runners take off at 7 p.m. from OK Runner in Brookhaven Village, 3720 W Robinson. With the lure of a free cold drink at the end of the road, Norman runners are excited to be part of a new social group of runners.
Before their third run of the month, runners once again stretched and chatted while waiting to hit the pavement. Organized by Gus Thompson, OK Runner co-owner, participants can run three, four, five or six miles. Thompson said the runs are out and back through the Brookhaven neighborhood.
“If someone wants to run three miles, at the one and a half mile mark there is a water stop and they can get a drink, then turn and run back to OK Runner,” he explained.
Runners range in age and have included high school students. Thompson said runners of all levels are welcome and even walkers can participate. There is no registration to join the group.
“We say the more the merrier,” Thompson said.
Once the run is complete, socializing kicks into high gear as the group offers one drink voucher, whether that be beer, ice tea or soda, for each runner at Pub W. Thompson said besides having fun and socializing, the running group provides safety in numbers, water that is put out by OK Runner along the route and running supplies if participants would like to shop before the run.
Mike Gray of Norman said he enjoys the new running group because it gives him someone to run with and stay accountable.
“I do a lot of training on my own, but running with someone helps you push yourself,” he said. “It’s also nice getting the group back together. A lot of us have run together over the years.”