Who We're Running With: TBR Philly

Running in the Philadelphia area continues to grow and grow. From the races to beautiful trails and places to run to great groups, we consider ourselves very lucky to be surrounded by such a wonderful running community. Here's who we're running with this week! 


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By Vinita Young, founder TBR Philly 

How a shy girl with resting bitch face started a running group:

My #myphillyrun was getting boring…and by boring I mean lonely. I had recently completed the ODDyssey Half Marathon’s pre-Broad Street bridge run training program (if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it). Each weekly bridge run ended at a bar in Old City with a beer (or more) and I got to socialize with other runners. It was awesome. I met many great people in that group BUT it was also SO DAMN FAR from my house and my workplace…not to mention the parking tickets I received (seriously PPA why can’t I pay you more money to leave my car in the same spot for more than 2 hours?!).

Despite my teenage proclamations that I was getting out of my neighborhood as soon as possible, I remain a Northeast Philly girl. I was lured into staying in the NE as a grown-up by affordable home prices, lawns, and my very own driveway (think of that while you’re circling for parking at night inner city dwellers :P).  So what was a girl to do? There HAD to be a local running group. To the internet I went! Turns out, there were no regularly meeting running groups in Northeast Philly* There was some scuttlebutt about a friend of an acquaintance maybe starting one, but that didn’t pan out. Maybe I’ll just start one I thought…no, no, no. That was RIDICULOUS. I’m not even a good runner. I’m not fast. I’m not a marathoner. I don’t like talking to strangers. This was an absurd idea. I’m gonna do it. After receiving assurances from my sister, Aileen, and running buddy, Brandon, that they would come to the first run so I wasn’t alone like a weirdo, I started plotting a new running group for Northeast Philadelphia.

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Let’s see, when to meet? WEDNESDAY. Wednesday is so boring. I never do anything on Wednesday. What time is good? 7PM. Enough time to get home from work, get changed, maybe eat something and head out to the run. Where to meet? At whatever bar we’re grabbing a post-run drink. Parking and logistics problems solved! Eh, I guess this group needs a name? TORRESDALE. The neighborhood we’ll be primarily running in. BEER. What we’ll be drinking afterwards. RUNNERS. What we are. OK, that’s settled. Now let’s create a Facebook group and Twitter because if we don’t exist online, do we really exist at all?

I gave myself a few weeks’ time between creating TBRs online presence and our first scheduled run to see if ANYONE would find us and want to come out and run. Oh yeah, and to plan out some routes. In the midst of this waiting period, I got a twitter direct message from a writer for Be Well Philly asking if they could have our info to add to their listing of running clubs. OMG YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I wrote a little blurb and emailed it over to my contact. To my pleasant surprise, this little article appeared about us on Be Well Philly’s website on July 8th – one day before our first scheduled run. 

July 9th, 2014: It was here. R Day. I walked over to Reedy’s a little before 7pm nervous and very unsure if anyone besides my two coerced friends would show. I was flabbergasted when I got to the corner of Frankford and Arendell. There were actual runner people here. Like A LOT of them. I knew the Northeast had runners. I’d given the mandatory runner wave every time I passed one on a solo run but I didn’t know if those runners were up for anything friendlier than that passing acknowledgement. Turns out, they were.

Photo from the inaugural TBR Philly run on July 9th, 2014

Photo from the inaugural TBR Philly run on July 9th, 2014

We had at least 15 runners show up that first night. I say at least because that’s all that was in the photograph. It took me a few beers worth of courage to work up the nerve to ask everyone to get together for a photograph post-run and, by that point, several runners had already left. Now a pre-run photo is part of our weekly tradition. From that date on, I’ve never ran alone on a Wednesday night. I’m so grateful to the runners of TBR for showing up each week. Not only have they made my crazy idea worthwhile, they’ve made me a better runner and a better community member.

Photo via TBR Philly Facebook page

Photo via TBR Philly Facebook page

The continued existence of TBR wouldn’t be possible without thanking these awesome people. If you see them, let them know how awesome they are (unless they look like they’re getting overinflated egos. In that case, ignore them. Same goes for me.):

Aileen Leven – My favorite sibling. Agreed to show up for the first TBR run so I wasn’t running alone while sobbing that no one came. Leads runs when I’m off doing mom stuff.

Brandon Weymer – Really suckered me into this running thing. Also agreed to show up for the first TBR run so I wasn’t running alone while sobbing that no one came. Broad Street Run buddy 5 years and counting.

Amy Pohl – Charity event organizer, Broke Ass Winter Series creator and organizer. Leads runs when I’m off doing mom stuff. Let us into her house (probably a bad idea).

Shannan Gagliardi - Broke Ass Winter Series creator and organizer. Let us into her house (again probably a bad idea).

Michael Gagliardi – The amazing bearded wonder. TBR Crawl creator and organizer. Leads runs when I’m off doing mom stuff. Provides mad ultra marathon cred to the group.

Rich Coogan – Weekend long run route planner and leader.

Tom O’Leary – Coach in Chief. Up Broad Run creator and leader. Winter/ Spring Track Speedwork and Summer/ Fall Hill Sprints planner and leader.

Tom Mellon – TBR logo and TBR Crawl graphics design.

Photo via TBR Philly Facebook page

Photo via TBR Philly Facebook page

If you’d like to join us (or just stalk us on social media), we run every Wednesday night rain or shine or snow or extreme humidity at 7pm starting and ending from a different bar in Northeast Philly. Run locations are posted to our Facebook group: TBR Philly, on Twitter and Instagram @TBRPhilly each week.

*sidenote: the Northeast Road Runners do exist as a club but there’s no info about regular runs. The NERRC does put on an awesome Christmas is For Giving 5K every December in Pennypack Park. The race entry fee is a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Check it out if you like small local races!