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January makes optimists of us all. But once you’ve set that resolution to “get back in shape”, you know cardio is gonna be on your list. Winter is NOT an easy season to get the cardio groove going, especially if you’re like me and HATE running. I get all red faced and gross and overheated and it’s the worst. Give me a pool and a water polo ball and I’m good, but ask me to run? Yuck. However, I just discovered something that could change all that! It’s the Hogwarts Running Club.
The Hogwarts Running Club (HRC). Yes, that Hogwarts. Yes, it’s a real thing. I just joined two weeks ago and it’s already the actual best.
Basically it’s a digital running club that’s hosted on hogwartsrunningclub.org, but all of the action takes place on the Facebook pages and groups. By being digital it means that anyone can join, regardless of region or country or anything. The best part is that it’s a giant celebration of being a Harry Potter nerd.
So how does it work?
The organization hosts six events each year, plus a seventh challenge. Each event (and the challenge) earn you a medal if you participate. Registration is usually $25. This entry fee gets you a digital bib that you customize yourself, an awesome event medal shipped to you, and 70 cents for each dollar goes directly to the charity of choice for that particular race. For example, this month they’re doing the Mad-Eye Moody 5k to support Limbs for Life, so $17.50 of your registration goes directly to that charity. Isn’t the Mad-Eye Moody medal AWESOME? Even more awesome? Your registration is tax-deductible because HRC is a non-profit! Full details are on their website.
The actual 5k is done on the honor system, so you just have to complete a 5k sometime during the race period (about a month). What I love about it is that there’s no set “rules” to it. If you want to do your 5k on the treadmill, that’s fine. Outside running? Also fine. Walking? Totally fine. Any forward movement is their real qualification for the races. Your pace is up to you, and if you can’t do a full race in one go, you can break it up into chunks that you can manage. There’s a half and full marathon each year, which I doubt I can do in one go myself, so I really love this allowance. The focus is more on you moving forward rather than on how much or how fast.
One of the fun things about Harry Potter, mostly in the earlier books, is the competition between the houses known as the House Cup. The HRC makes this competitive spirit a reality when they sort you into houses based on your Pottermore sorting hat ceremony (or you can just choose, really). They also have a faculty/independent group if you really don’t want to join a house… but where’s the fun in that? Slytherin won last year’s House Cup, in case you wondered. Go Sneks!
Whether you’re a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, you will be contributing towards your house’s standings in the House Cup through the Charity Miles app. If you’ve never heard of this app, go download it right now. It’s seriously amazing. You pick a charity of choice from the participating charities in the app, and the sponsor for your run will donate 25 cents for every mile you walk or run and 10 cents for every mile you bike.
Yup, that’s right… not only are you donating to charity through the HRC events, but every time you earn miles towards the House Cup victory it’s logging dollars to a charity as well! As they say on the HRC, that’s #somuchgood! Plus the House Cup points are determined by weekly rankings, not by total miles. This has really helped me keep on track every single week with my mile goals for this year.
The Great Hall is the mainstay for the HRC. It’s a closed facebook group where everyone can chat, request a wands up for a family member in need of good vibes, and post about anything related to running or Harry Potter. Tons of support here, and some friendly competition between houses. HRC is a safe space where only running or Harry Potter related posts are tolerated and there’s a No Trolls in the Dungeon (or anywhere) rule. So if you need an escape from politics, head to the Great Hall.
Each house has its own Common Room, which are also closed facebook groups like the Great Hall. This is where I spend the majority of my time with the club. Now, I’m not sure what happens in the other houses, but in Slytherin we are always encouraging each other to keep moving, earn more Charity Miles, and be awesome (because Slytherins are the best, really).
One thing I love about my common room is the support everyone gives. No matter how many miles you do, we are all about your success and efforts. Plus we have fun things like a daily question to foster conversation and a monthly birthday card exchange! Check out this one Slytherin’s card stash:
photo courtesy of royaroo
First years are welcomed accordingly after being sorted in the Great Hall. Each Common Room has its own set of rules, in addition to the main rules set out in the Great Hall. There are Head Boys and Head Girls and every member has the ability to become a prefect. It’s basically Hogwarts IRL!!!
The final aspect of HRC that’s really cool is their regional groups, including specific groups for the Hollywood and Orlando Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter. Regional groups do meet-ups and sometimes run events together as a group. With HRC members all over the world, you never know what witches and wizards will live near you!
If Harry Potter isn’t your thing, but you love this idea, maybe you’d be interested in their other running groups… They have a Doctor Who Whovian Running Club and the brand new Gilmore Girls Chilton Running Club. Allons-y! And say hello to Kirk’s pig for me.
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