Sunday, December 27, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Morning Run

I had intended to get this out to you before I went, but I ran out of time.

"A merry — and fit — Christmas" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  December 25, 2015

The full moon still shone through the clouds when they began to arrive at the top of the hill, not long after 6 in the morning.

Decked out in neon workout gear — not to mention elf socks, Santa hats, and reindeer ears — men and women, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, gathered at the top of the rise and exchanged hugs and high-fives. More than 100 of them, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, just hours after the holiday began.

Then they began to run: an easy jog down steeply sloping Summit Avenue in Brookline and a grueling slog back up, again and again. The sound of feet padding on the pavement, heavy breathing, and the jingle of bells attached to some costumes could be heard in the early morning quiet.

They are part of the November Project, a free grassroots fitness-group-turned-movement that meets year-round every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — rain or shine, holiday or work day — to do pushups and situps at different locations, run steps at the Harvard Stadium, and engage in tough hill-running.

And the camaraderie and tradition was enough to rouse them from warm beds on Christmas into a grinding cardiovascular endeavour just over the Allston line.

“It’s the passion, the community, the joy of hanging out with friends,” Nicolas Flattes, a 49-year-old Roxbury resident, said after the run and before heading to celebrate the holiday with his parents. “It’s getting a nice, good, intense workout,” he added, “and Christmas makes it all the better!”

Emily Saul, 36, dressed in an elf costume and one of the November Project co-leaders, led about 100 devotees through some laugh-filled exercises (skipping up a hill, etc.) after the run and then organized everyone for a posed group photo.

As people hugged it out on their way to breakfast, Saul said the whole movement, which has expanded from Boston to cities across the continent, inspires her — beyond just getting out of bed pre-dawn on a holiday.

“I started doing it because I thought it would be fun to see what this weird group was all about,” she said. “And I found that the people I’ve met in this community are people that I want to be around and fill my life up with.”

I'm headed there shortly and it's not this crowd:


Mine was two hours worth of up-and-down which I will cover in my next post above.