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Everywhere you look, it seems people are running.

Still, it takes courage to take those first steps — and even more courage to continue. As with most things, a community of encouragers makes every step easier.

A new specialty running store, Hub City Runners, located on Spartanburg’s west side, helps new runners take that first step and experienced runners challenge themselves in new ways. The store is a natural step for runners Jill Morris and Donna Loudermilk.

While the store will hold its grand opening Aug. 6, the Hub City Runners running group began over three years ago and meets each Saturday for group runs. The group began as a ministry of Anderson Mill Baptist Church.

“My then boss, the Rev. Kevin Harrison, asked me to start a running group,” Morris said. “We started with about five women and grew from there.”

Today the group has more than 200 members on its Facebook page. Some run regularly with the group, while others are there for encouragement and education. Though the group began as a ministry of Anderson Mill Baptist Church, anyone is welcome and encouraged to join. Most members, in fact, do not belong to the church. All ages are welcome and current runners range in age from 18 to 70.

While men are welcome to join the group, it has been predominantly women, Morris said.

“I have enjoyed seeing how women thrive in a community,” she said. “It is amazing what a group of women can do. We have had people who’ve gone from never having run to doing half-marathons.”

In addition to group runs, members also race together.

The Hub City Runners group has branched out since its inception to include a group of triathletes — men and women called Hub City Tri — and a walking group. Members have even done obstacle races. Their motto is “We do hard things!”

The store will offer shoes, running gear and fuel. Women’s, men’s and youth sizes will be offered, and the plan is to offer free training classes and boot camps, Morris said.

“We want help people get and stay healthy,” she said. “The group has helped me stay in shape and I have made some amazing friends along the way.”

A schedule of races, group runs and boot camp can be found on the store’s website, www.hubcityrunners.com, and on the Hub City Runners Facebook page.

The store will be located at 2932 Reidville Road, Moore.

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