Jan 4, 2023 - Things to Do

I hate running but I’ll exercise with Mad Miles Run Club

Photo: Courtesy of Cornell W. Jones

I participated in one of Charlotte’s fastest-growing run clubs that makes exercising fun.

Working out is my least favorite thing, but I show up for Mad Miles Run Club for the same reasons hundreds of other Charlotteans do. Here’s what you should know before you go:

What’s happening: Mad Miles Run Club is a Black-led run club open to people of all ages and paces for free.

  • The club meets every Tuesday at YVY Training in Camp North End at 6:30pm and Saturday in Elizabeth Park at 10am, regardless of the weather. You can just show up; no registration is required.
  • If you’re not a runner, you can move at your own pace by jogging or walking. 
Photo: Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. and courtesy of Cornell W. Jones.

Background: Cornell Jones started the run club virtually by running one mile every day on Instagram at the start of 2019. By 2021, hundreds of people were joining the movement virtually before he launched the run club in person.

  • In summer 2022, the club grew to around 550-700 people dedicated to working out every week. 
  • Hundreds of people still show up for a workout despite colder months and daylight savings time.
  • “We pride ourselves in running every week. We don’t take any days off. Somebody is going to be getting some miles in,” Jones says.   

Why it matters: Aside from creating a healthier lifestyle, the nonprofit organization also creates opportunities to give back to people in the community through scholarships. 

  • In 2022, the club awarded a runner attending Winston Salem State University (Jones’ alma mater) $2,500.

What to expect: Every workout turns into a party with music and dancing. 

  • The meetups begin with stretching to music by a live DJ before starting the two-mile route. 
  • Afterward, the run turns into a block party as everyone celebrates with dancing. 
  • “Mad Miles is a double entendre to talk about running in a cool way. People are called crazy for running and I used to run one (M)ile (A) (D)ay,” Jones says.

Vibe: Mad Miles creates a welcoming environment with more events for people to meet and have their community outside of their weekly exercises.

  • After runs, everyone meets up at bars like Pins Mechanical and QC Pour House to hang out and play spades.
  • The group also had its first elegant ball at the Harvey B. Gantt Center with a spades tournament.
  • “The energy is fun when you come here and we can do events outside of running. Running is the base of it and it’s very important, but there’s so much more beyond that,” Jones adds.  
Photo: Alexis Clinton

What’s next: There are plans to offer more scholarships, travel opportunities, a race and other fun events outside of working out in 2023.

  • Jones tells us there will be another winter ball and a spring soiree with proceeds used to fund more scholarships. They are also organizing multiple trips to other parts of the world.
  • “I think the more we can build, the more we will grow and impact those around us,” Jones says.
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