Heart and Sole, Dartmouth's wildly popular running club, is on the move.
Starting April 7, members' pre- and post-run meet-up will be at the Findlay Community Centre on Elliot St., instead of Two If By Sea on Ochterloney St.
"There is no question that our current home (TIBS) has been awesome, but with the huge growth experienced by our club, now on most Sundays there isn't enough space for all our members to be inside," Michelle Kempton, one of the club's founders, explained in an email to the club's mailing list last week.
On a nice day as many as 80 members gather for their regular 9 a.m. Sunday morning run before heading out to do their five-, 10- or 15-plus-kilometre route. Even on the not-so-nice days, 40 to 50 runners will show up.
"Once we're out running we all find our own pace and our spot in the pack, but it really is an amazing feeling when we all head out together to start our run," Kempton said.
Heart & Sole launched Feb. 6, 2011, the brainchild of six friends - all runners of varying levels.
"Some of us had been doing a running clinic in Halifax and realized, here we are traveling over to Halifax to do a running clinic when we all live in Dartmouth. It got us talking about the idea of starting our own club," Kempton said.
A web designer, Kempton created the website to promote their venture. A Facebook page and Twitter handle came next - both hugely successful - but it's been as much word of mouth that took the club from that initial group of friends to 150 regular attendees.
"We just told everybody we knew. I think it was when word got out that this really is a club for everybody that it took off," Kempton said.
Kempton began running in 2007 and credits running with a 120-lb weight loss. She went from struggling to run one kilometre to regularly running 40 to 50 kilometres a week.
It's an inspirational story that likely helped draw members who might have felt intimidated at joining a running group, but it's Kempton's enthusiasm and energy that Johnny MacPherson, another of the club co-founders, credits with the club's success.
"Without question, Michelle is the driving force behind the club," he said.
Heart & Sole has grown to become much more than a running club, friendships, romantic match-ups, even a band have formed as a result. It will be exciting to see what new headquarters will bring, MacPherson said.
"Having our own place to hang out and get to know each other - especially new runners - that will just make it even better."