People often send emails to me or to one of the Discussion Groups, basically asking "How fast do you run? Can I keep up with you?" There's no one answer to that. It depends on the run. Of course, you don't want to show up to a run that's out of your league, either too fast, or too slow. Unfortunately, this leads some people to wait way too long before showing up for a group run. So here's a little guide to the pace range for the various groups. But if you have a question, particularly about a group run, don't be afraid to ask! Just post a note to the appropriate Discussion Group.

Beginners: There are two groups in the Club very open to beginner runners, the Wahoo Beginners Group and the Bellefonte Road Raiders. Both groups are very welcoming to runners of all abilities. Both groups have fairly regular group runs, and often organize runs outside the regular times via their associated email Discussion Groups. The pace on the group runs tends to be in the 10 minute/mile range for the Bellefonte runs, 11-12 min/mile (or slower) for the Beginner runs. The mileage is usually 2-4 miles, but sometimes longer. Often the longer runs are organized so that the group runs one route of 2 miles with the absolute beginners, then adds on afterward.  

Lunch Time Runs: The Rec Hall Regulars have the widest range of running abilities and pace. They're basically all the Club Regulars above "beginner" pace. The lunch time runs meet at Rec Hall in the warm-up area on the first floor beside the Main Gym and leave at 12:10 for their runs. The group can be anywhere from 3 to 12 or more runners. Because these runs tend to have the biggest range of talent, they often break up into smaller groups doing different paces and mileage. The slowest runners might run 4-6 miles at a sub-9 minute/mile pace. The fastest runners might start out with the group, but then pick up the pace and add on miles, sometimes doing 6 or more miles, with parts of it at a 7 min/mile pace. The group is very welcoming. "Graduating" beginners will often tag along, even if they can't keep up the whole time. It's a great way to meet runners and learn some running routes.

Despite its imposing sounding name, the Thursday Track Crew is even more open to runners of all talent, even beginners. Same deal as the Rec Hall runs. Meet at Rec Hall, leave at 12:10, jog to the Penn State Track indoor track (during the cold months) or the IM Fields or State High Track (warmer months), and do a workout. Or meet the Crew at the venue at about 12:25. (The location is kept current on the Group Run Calendar so you know where to go.)  It's a big group (15-30 runners on any given Thursday), and you can do the workout at any pace or intensity you're ready for.

Weekend Group Runs: The Bellefonte Road Raiders and the Wahoo Beginners often have weekend group runs, usually at the pace and intensity mentioned above. The other weekend group runs organized within the Club can be a bit faster and longer than these (though slower than the Rec Hall runs). The runs can be anwhere from 6 to 12 miles, or more, particularly if somebody is training for a marathon. The pace often depends on who organizes it and what the intent of the run is. It's is usually in the 8-10 minute mile range, though it can be faster for a marathon training pace workout, or slower for Rothrock Forest or Game Lands runs (see below). These runs are announced on the Group Runs web page, are put out via email to the NVRC Discussion Group, and placed on the Club Calendar. The organizer usually mentions mileage and intended pace. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to post them to the Discussion Group!

Lately, we've been trying to schedule at least one Weekend run that is open to a wider range of talent. These runs will have a shorter (4-7 mile) distance open to everyone, and longer options for those so inclined. These runs will often include a after-run social part. Slower runners are very welcome as long as they can do the distance in the description. If you'd like to help organize one of these, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Here are some more specific descriptions of places we go:

  • Rothrock (Tussey) Runs: If you see an Group Run in Rothrock State Forest posted, or if it mentions the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK in the run description, be prepared for a bit of a challenge, though one well worth your effort. The Rothrock runs are generally run on the macadam or gravel roads in the mountains just outside of town. The runs in Rothrock are usually long (8-18 miles), and the pace is moderate (8:30-10:30 min/mile). But it's slower than the daily Rec Hall runs mostly because of the challenging hills (some 1000 ft climbs). Occasionally, a runner will post a run on one of the even more challenging trails in Rothrock.
  • Game Lands Runs: Marty Mazur is the Club Game Lands Guide. About once a month he announces a Game Lands run. The runs are held in State Game Lands 176, a vast preserve of woodland and meadows very close to town. Directions to SGL 176 are here. Game Lands running is mostly done on single track trails. Though the hills in the Game Lands are not as long or steep as those in Rothrock, the runs can be a challenging adventure, thanks to rocks, tree roots, vines, and brambles. Marty's runs are usually 6-10 miles at a relaxed pace of about 9:30-11:30 min/mile. Though this seems slow, it's actually equivalent to an 9 or so minute/mile pace on roads. Game Lands Caveat: Marty will lead the group at the pace of the slowest runner. Marty will not leave a newcomer behind, even if that person says "It's OK. I'll find my way back", because the Game Lands are so full of trails that it's easy to become turned around and lost. So on the one hand, don't worry! Don't be shy! Come along for the adventure! You're in good hands, and the object is to have fun. On the other hand, don't come for a run that is likely to be beyond your ability, lest we all have to walk back to the cars with you. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you're not sure.

Other: The Ladies' Early Morning Runs are, as the name suggests, for ladies. It's a great group of gals (I ran with them once in disguise). The pace is relaxed, but not a beginners pace: about 9-10 minutes a mile.