Regulars in the Chicago running scene may have noticed new gear popping up at area races last year.
Sprinkled in among the classic specialty store-supported crews were black singlets and shirts, emblazoned with a winged foot, four Chicago stars, and the words "Three Run Two."
Chicago, it's time to meet the Northwest Side’s newest running club.
At the end of December 2012, Three Run Two co-founder Nicolas Bernal sent an e-mail to group of friends, runners and non-runners alike, encouraging them meet to the first Thursday of 2013 in an attempt to bring both worlds together.
“Those first couple group runs, we all knew each other, either by being friends or a friend-of-a-friend type deal,” said Rick Diaz, a college friend of Bernal's. “I thought it would kind of be that way. I didn’t imagine it’d grow to what it is and evolving to be.”
These days Three Run Two draws between 60-80 runners to its #blvds Thursday evening runs in Logan Square. While Thursday evening may be Three Run Two’s most popular meeting time, plenty of runners show up for #highpower Tuesday morning runs in West Town, and #twosday Tuesday evening runs in University Village as well.
Bernal points to the warmer weather for the high number of participants, but also credits the welcoming atmosphere.
"We don’t charge for membership,” Bernal says. “We want to make running accessible and make it so you feel comfortable coming out regardless of whether you’ve run an ultramarathon, you’re a Boston qualifier, you run 5Ks or you’ve never run at all."
The group’s large size has also helped bring more runners into the fold. Julia Brennan's interest was piqued when she was out running with a friend and saw Three Run Two on its weekly Thursday run.
“A couple weeks later that same friend and I went out to have a beer and food after our run, and that huge group was there,” Brennan says. “A couple weeks after that, I went and joined them, and after that I was hooked.”
Although Three Run Two’s running locations began as a matter of convenience -- Bernal is a Humboldt Park resident -- the club has started to fill a void in the Chicago running scene.
“When you think running, you think Lakeview, Lincoln Park and the lakefront, but people run everywhere,” Bernal says. “I really enjoy running through the neighborhoods, seeing the sights and architecture. You can only run on the lakefront and in Lincoln Park so much. We definitely identify with being west of Western Avenue.”
1 Three Run Two may have its roots and heart in running, but ultimately, Bernal and fellow co-founders Micaela Bernal and Alexander Gonzales see the group as so much more than your average running club.
“It’s a brand, a lifestyle and a group of people that sincerely enjoy each other’s company,” Bernal says. “We train hard and we run hard. We’re not just getting out there and posing for pictures. We really enjoy running.”
To learn more about Three Run Two, visit threeruntwo.com.