Lake Ridge Runners Hope to Set Record
LAKE RIDGE, Va. — The Lake Ridge RidgeRunners are hoping to set a record tonight: to have more people than ever before show up for a run held by their club.
More than 50 people are expected to gather at Lake Ridge Elementary School on Hedges Run Drive at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and is open to anyone – from beginning runners to more experienced athletes.
For RidgeRunners President Stephanie Dupal-Dumartin, tonight’s event will be a culmination of her work over the past two years, breathing new life into a club that dates back more than 30.
Dupal-Demartin joined the Ridge Runners in 2006 during a rough patch in her life. Members of the group taught her to be a better runner.
“The first time I ran with them they told me we were going to do six miles. I said ‘no they won’t because I’m so slow,’” said Dupal-Martin.
But with some coaching, and alternating between running and walking, she did. A month later, she went on to place first in her age range at a 5K race.
But in 2010, many members of the group moved to North Carolina and the group disbanded. Under the direction of the Lake Ridge Parks Authority, the club was about to lose all its funding — Until Dupal-Martin stepped in and got things going again.
She penned a column on a local news website and urged other runners to join her at a local school. It’ didn’t turn out as she had hoped, but it was a start.
“In the back of my head I had a vision of the parking lot at the school being full. Only two showed up,” she said.
But it was enough for her to grab a clipboard and go to every area swim meet and community sporting event to ask others to sign up for information about the RidgeRunners. With the help of a tech-savvy husband, they redid the group’s website, built an email contact list, gained new followers on Facebook.
The RidgeRunners hold six runs per week, and their Tuesday and Thursday night runs remain the most popular. At least once per week, the group likes to run at Mount Vernon, Manassas Battlefield Park, or other scenic points in the region.