The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Virginia Lyons

The off-season team stays in shape in the winter and early spring by doing workouts after school like doing intervals on the track.

Running club provides year-round conditioning

The BSM running club was created by senior Ryan Dunn and junior Lillian Galvin so that avid runners can maintain their peak fitness during the off-season.

During the cold winter months, many high school runners find themselves losing muscle tone in between the seasons of Cross Country and Track & Field; this predicament plagues many athletes at BSM who don’t participate in a winter sport but still want to run in a group setting. To combat this recurring issue, senior Ryan Dunn and junior Lillian Smith decided to create BSM Winter Running Club.

Both Smith and Dunn are members of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams, but they always struggled to maintain their peak fitness in the awkward three month gap. “During Cross Country, I always have my team counting on me to show up and run, but during the winter, no one is counting on you or running with you everyday. This makes it difficult to motivate yourself to run and to not cut workouts,” Smith said.

The idea for a winter running club had always circled around the boys’ and girls’ teams at the end of the season but never materialized because sports and school distracted runners from starting anything. “The girls’ [Cross Country] team always wanted a way to keep running together and stay in shape but never really happened until Lillian and Ryan talked to Coach Hanson and got the ball rolling,” junior club member Lauren McDonnell said.


Besides keeping the athletes in shape and dedicated to running, the club fosters healthy habits that pay off in the rigorous spring Track & Field season. Runnerspace -a magazine focused on running life- proved that slowly increasing distance over time reduces the risk and severity of shin splints—a common and extremely painful injury that most runners suffer from. “By starting slower and continuing over a long period of time, [club members] are able to maintain and increase endurance while doing minimal damage,” Smith said.


The club also appeals to athletes that don’t run in the spring season but still want to keep in shape, run with their friends, or prep for other sports.. “This was a great way to get good distance runs in right after school [without] the pressure of racing that CC has,” sophomore member Lillian Galvin said.

The club started with five or so members and has grown to about 20 members over the season. The number of members is also increasing with many winter sports coming to a close. “On a good day eight to ten people will show, and on a bad day, sometimes it’s just me and Coach Hanson. However we always get a good workout in and have a great time,” Dunn said.

The club finished its first year in time for track, but because of its success, a second year seems likely. “I had a great time being a part of this community and would be interested in doing a similar one next year,” Smith said.

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