IOWA CITY — Homework, essays and tests can make high school a stressful place.
Having a flexible schedule is very important to the four Iowa City High seniors who founded Running Club.
They saw it as a way to stay in shape without taking up as much time as competitive sports.
“(Cross-country) was a lot of commitment that I couldn’t make,” said senior Joe Schuessler. “I knew that it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I couldn’t be fully committed, so I turned in my uniform and the coaches understood.”
Schuessler had previously run track in middle school and completed three years of cross country before quitting with five weeks left in the fall season.
“When we quit cross country, we knew we still wanted to stay in shape and we still wanted to run, so we formed a small running club that would have shorter practices,” Schuessler said.
Franklin Hornbuckle, Paul Cornell and Anthony Murphy joined Schuessler to found Running Club.
“It’s similar to the invention of the wheel, where multiple people all around the world at the same time just happen to come up with the same idea,” Cornell said. “We are all from similar circumstances, all former members of cross country, weren’t very happy with the system of long practices and competitive ... environment, so we founded Running Club has an alternative to that.”
Cross country practices typically last for two hours at a time, while Running Club tries to stay under 45 minutes.
“I like to run just because it’s healthy and it’s a social thing, not because I’m trying to win races,” Cornell said. “Cross country didn’t really allow for that. It’s more focused on winning, as a sport should be, but Running Club is more focused on just running for fun.”
The club has a consistent three to five members that go to every meeting.
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“We meet every day after school,” Murphy said. “We’re always done before 5, we go at eight-minute pace or faster. Depends on the run.”
The club is planning to continue to meet into the winter.
“In the winter, we’re going to try to run when it’s not icy or snowy or super cold, then once it gets too cold to go outside and run, then we won’t run,” Murphy said.
All of the members participated in the Run for the Schools road race and plan on participating in other local races in the future.
“Running Club is pretty important to me now, something I go to nearly every day,” Schuessler said. “It’s got a very summer-running feel to it, and a lot of people are very intrigued by that.”
The clubs membership could grow now that the cross country season is over.
“I just want to let everyone know that Running Club is inclusive of everyone,” Schuessler said. “Anyone can come run; you don’t have to stay. You don’t have to make any contribution. We’re just happy to have you there.”