Downtown bar Happy’s hosts run

Happy’s Running Club participants meet at North Boulevard Town Square on Tuesday prior to their weekly Tuesday evening 5K run.For more than 100 Baton Rouge residents, the beginning of the week means it’s time to hit the ground running.

Each Tuesday, a group of runners gather downtown and relax afterward with a drink as part of Happy’s Running Club.

Residents congregate each week at 6 p.m., rain or shine, at Happy’s Irish Pub on Third Street. They run a 5K, or 3.1 miles, and reconvene

at the bar.

Happy’s often offers specials to club members and encourages them to stay and enjoy themselves after the run.

Baton Rouge business owner and club founder Scott Higgins said he first had the idea for the club after reading a magazine article about similar groups.

“There are running clubs here, but nothing as social as this,” he said. “Most of them are for training.”

He brought the idea to his business partner Michael Lang, and the group was formed within a month.

Higgins said the club, which encompassed 17 runners on its first night four years ago, has grown to become one of the largest

in the country.

The group ended 2011 with 850 members, but it sees about 2,000 one-time runners in an average year.

About 200 to 250 people run with the group each week in the summer and more than 100 in the winter.

Higgins said the group makes it possible for residents to improve their abilities and get to know one another.

“In the beginning, it might be the only day of the week they run,” he said. “It’s exciting to see people who started with us moving up to bigger runs and longer distances.”

Higgins said he’s also enjoyed watching the downtown area grow since the group first started running.

“Four years ago, it wasn’t anything like it is today,” he said. “It’s been good for downtown and for the running community in general.”

Higgins said the group runs every Tuesday at 6 p.m., but there are also occasional special events. In the summer, Happy’s treats runners to free food and music.

Source: Rachel Warren, lsureveille.com

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