NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

President’s Running Club

The President’s Running Club held its first meeting on Monday, Sept. 22 at noon in the Sport and Fitness Center. The club is run by  NECC President Lane Glenn and Coach Jeff Bickford, who does the Couch to 5k portion of the club. The great thing about the running club is the diversity of exercise options it offers to its members, students or staff who are not runners already. They can acquire the necessary conditioning and experience by participating in the Couch to 5k with Bickford, and seasoned runners can keep training for a 5k race with Glenn.

The Campus Classic is run in the spring at NECC, scheduled for May 2 2015. It is a 5k and Fun Run certified by USATF, and has been made a part of the Super Iron Series by the Merrimack Valley Striders. The Campus Classic is great because proceeds benefit the NECC Annual Fund which provides support for student scholarships and academic programs. The President’s Running Club is a wonderful way of preparing its members for the annual race in the spring, especially after they complete the Feaster Five on Nov. 27.

The President’s Running Club has been in operation for 3 years, since the beginning of 2011. “We not only want people academically fit but physically fit as well,” said Glenn. “We seem to have a group of 30 or so people each semester and we get a lot of new people. People accomplish their first mile or other goals,” said Bickford. The Couch to 5k participants have an opportunity to achieve a goal they might not have thought themselves capable of through the club. “I get to enjoy that because I get people that don’t think they can run, but they become runners.” said Bickford.

Bickford said of a student last semester, “She was going out and thinking she wouldn’t be able to do it. By then end she moved right up next to the runners. Everyone always surprises themselves if they’ve never run before.”

Lane Glenn and Jeff Bickford speaking at the first meeting of the President’s Running Club, Photo Credit Rebecca Westerman

The club schedule was distributed on the first meeting. Intermediate and advanced runners received a separate handout schedule and the Couch to 5k runners got a schedule from Cool Running detailing a workout description, a personal goals sheet and a weekly routine. Both routines include running tips, for more advanced runners, available here, and for beginners, here. The “Campus Loop” is a 1.05 mile lap around campus, mostly on sidewalks. In the duration of the club participants will have the opportunity to run through Kenoza Lake, which is 4.64 miles.

This semester there is a brand new branch of the club being introduced, which is a walking club run by Diana Mele, Professor of Deaf Student and Human Services. This is a brand new endeavor for the President’s Running Club for people who want to eventually run but need to take a slower inital pace. “We’re gonna walk until we can run,” said Mele. Each semester the club tries to incorporate something new to give a broader range of students and faculty members a chance to be a part of the club.

Any student or faculty member can join the running club, as long as they show up on time and wear appropriate clothing to be active in. Locker rooms are available in the Sport and Fitness Center for changing before and after runs, lockers are also available for personal belongings and members are encouraged to bring their own locks or get assigned a locker by contacting Maria Hom at Members of the club get a free entry to the Feaster Five Race if they run 5 out of the 10 scheduled weeks and get a club -shirt. The group meets every Monday at noon at the Health and Fitness Center from Sept. 22 to Nov. 27.

For any questions about the President’s Running Club, contact Maureen Saliba at, for information on the Couch to 5k portion contact Jeff Bickford at and for information about the Walking Club contact Diana Mele at

Photo gallery here.