It isn’t always the varsity teams that take home national titles. In fact, the Running Club at Virginia Tech has done just that in years past.
The running club is comprised of athletes of all skill levels. Now a junior, Luke LeVan took over as president of the club during his freshman year and the club’s its third year.
Luke instated a new mission for the club, encouraging competitive running, but also allowing runners of all skill levels to join.
“The whole mission of the running club is to have a place where anyone who wants to come out and either be competitive, just run to get in shape, just to have fun or just to meet people,” LeVan said.
LeVan and other officers work with members of the club to divide the runners into pace groups to ensure that each person has someone to run with.
“We all run, but there’s also the social aspect to it as well. That’s what’s really helped the club grow over past few years,” LeVan said.
The club has expanded significantly from its original 10 members over the past five years. There are now 100 active members in the group. Some hold the title of national champion, while others have never run before.
The social appeal has helped the club grow, and is a key factor for the women’s team. The women’s squad recently sent nine athletes to race at James Madison University.
The club hopes to send 10 of its female athletes to both regionals next week and nationals later this season.
Senior Monica Kohler explains that the club has “a lot of girls that just want to come out and run for fun. Then we have girls that are really competitive … it creates great balance between social and competitive running.”
The men’s squad competes in Divison II, Division III and intercollegiate club meets through the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA). The NIRCA is composed of 120 running clubs throughout the United States.
The men’s team holds a popular reputation of being good competition. Sportsmanship and talent alone often get the team invited back to annual meets, and has helped create a name for the club.
“Our men’s team is ranked sixth in the nation, and it looks like we’ll win the national meet,” LeVan said.
The club has a running history of success at nationals. Two years ago, the club came in 22nd of 42 teams.
LeVan affirmed that the team was “happy with that placement, considering the fact that there were only ten of us there, all in unmatching uniforms.”
However, LeVan declared that the team was “not having that again.”
Due to a lack of funding, the officers put out their own money to guarantee that the team would have matching uniforms FOR the following season.
The following year at nationals, the men’s team shot up to eighth overall, surpassing the University of Virginia club running team, and falling just short of seventh place.