The workouts are planned so that runners or walkers constantly see each other and hear that “good work” or “good job” from another runner. The effort is completely what each person makes it; there’s no magical pace to hit. Anyone is welcome — all ages, all paces.
The name, PRoject RISE, was purposeful. The capitalized PR pays homage to the personal record that runners chase and RISE is an acronym for respect, inclusion, self-confidence and energy. From its inception over a year ago, PRoject RISE has created a tribe of dedicated runners and walkers. These “tribesters” help other people in the community be more active, even if it’s only 30 minutes once a week.
For some, this tribe mentality has even provided a safety net to battle depression and anxiety. At the beginning of every workout, after the brief warm-up, participants huddle up and jump together. Although it may appear strange at first, tribesters say this brings a sense of togetherness that strengthens their bond. Leach spearheads the call-and-response of “y’all good?” Tribesters respond, “heck yeah!” This is repeated a few times and then the workout begins.
Dedication of PRoject RISE participants is undeniable. Some show up having already completed several miles, some are training for races and some are just beginning a routine of running or walking.
The group is made up of retirees, students, teachers and other professionals that make the effort to show up every Thursday.
While talking with the group about their goals in early 2018, Hammons told the group when 100 people showed up to PR he would get a PRoject RISE tattoo. The “just show up” mentality caught fire, and on July 12, over 100 people showed up for that’s morning’s run. Hammons kept his promise and got the PRoject RISE logo tattooed on his forearm.
For more information on PRoject RISE, visit their Facebook page.