Run | Drink | Be Happy. Such is the wonderful slogan of Happy's Running Club New Orleans (henceforth to be referenced as HRC NOLA), a club that takes off running through the streets of the CBD and French Quarter each Wednesday from Happy's Irish Pub on Poydras Street. Happy's Run Club originated in Baton Rouge at the original Happy's Pub and has come to the Crescent City in the last 18 months.
On the Saturday that I returned to the engineering school grind, HRC NOLA held its first 5k race, benefiting Team Gleason (which supports ALS research). I am still longingly looking at the photos of the fantastic time I am all too aware of missing; 650 runners took to the streets, running down Poydras and around the Superdome and Champions Square. (You wish you were there, don't you? Me, too.) The race was followed by a killer party, with live music by Hazy Ray; Abita Satsuma; food from ACME Oyster, Raising Canes, and Blue Runner Beans (to name a few). Awards included Mizuno running shoes, and an award for the 37th place runner in honor of Gleason's #37 jersey, which also spreads the love to runners who may not ordinarily make the podium.
Now that you wish you'd been there, you can learn a little about the club (and how to join) from Happy's Nola founder, Mark Berger.
How did Happy's Run Club Nola come about?
I was an original member of the Baton Rouge club when I decided to come back home to NOLA and start my own.
How would you describe a typical Wednesday evening at HRC Nola?
Meet at 5:48; run for 6:16 (rain or shine) a 5k through French Quarter, Marigny, CBD, Riverfront of New Orleans; 2 for 1 beers back at Happy's Irish Pub.
I know HRC has parties and costume runs periodically; could you tell me a little about those?
Always a Halloween and Spring run (when the time changes), where we throw big parties with FREE beer and food. We also throw themed runs here and there or do runs to give back to local charities or food banks.
When I mention running clubs to people, many initial reactions are, but I am not fast enough or I can't run far. Tell us a little about the wide spectrum of runners that flock to HRC.
We have all skill levels. Slow, fast, and virtual. We have the few serious runners, who just want a scenic short run with a cold beer at the end, and then we have the joggers, walkers, and after work beer/cocktail enthusiasts who love the social aspect of being in a fun running club.
Why should people join Happy's, and where should they go to do so?