Pound the pavement for a good cause with Unfit Run Club
The pandemic-enforced lockdown was trying for a multitude of reasons. Cafe’s were suddenly deprived of a significant portion of its clientele, gyms shuttered in response to social-distancing protocols and our homebound quarantine lifestyles meant the fridge was always within arm’s reach. Unfit Run Club was created as a response to the above quandaries – a weekly social gathering aiming to get our bodies moving again while supporting the local cafe scene. Sounds like a win-win to us – here’s the lowdown …
Very soon into my first Unfit Run Club event and I’m blowing a gale. My legs are responding to this unwelcome surge of activity much like one would respond to being awoken from a deep sleep via electric shock – not well. I’m only 500 metres away from King Arthur Cafe, the start and finishing point of this morning’s run circuit, which will take me up Arthur Street, down Ivory Street under the Storey Bridge, along the river to the Botanic Gardens and then back. Five kilometres, all told. By the time I’m back at the cafe, dripping with sweat, I’m feeling euphoric. Sure, I didn’t run the whole way (I didn’t even make it to the gardens before turning back), but that’s not the point. The point is that, after a year that saw me spend more time in my apartment than outside (barring my ritual-like scurry for coffee and supplies), I was lacing up the joggers (which hadn’t seen much use, even before COVID came to town) to go running.
I was invited to stretch my legs by Unfit Run Club’s founder Cory Wittleton, who started the community initiative back in March 2020 when COVID-19 was looming large and Brisbane’s cafe scene was gearing up to weather a tough few months. The concept is simple – folks of all ages and fitness levels meet at a different cafe each Saturday at 7:00 am, go for a five-kilometre run, walk or jog-walk (my preferred pace) before reconvening at the cafe for a coffee and a hang. As the operator of a local courier company, Cory saw firsthand the struggles cafes were enduring in the wake of restrictions and lockdowns – Unfit Run Club was conceived as a way to give these outlets a much-needed boost while also encouraging locals to keep active, make new friends and foster connections throughout iso. Over time the group grew from just Cory and his mates to include complete strangers – the URC Instagram page now boasts close to 900 followers, with weekend turnouts often pushing 40 participants. The cafe choice changes each week and has included Ministry of the Coffee Bean in Bulimba, Clayfield’s Let Minnow, Dicki’s in New Farm and Corner Store Cafe in Toowong (not to mention the odd brewery visit). This week’s run is kicking off at Plenty in West end – joggers are encouraged to check out the run map in advance on Strava, or just follow the crowd. If you’ve been meaning to make good on some 2021 fitness resolutions, or just want to support local cafes, Unfit Run Club is the perfect low-pressure outlet to do so. Keep your eyes peeled for other Unfit Run Clubs appearing on the coast in the not-too-distant future!
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