The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Demons on the Run: DePaul students start new running club for beginners and pros alike

Maya Oclassen

Look out, Lincoln Park! DePaul’s newest running club is ready to dominate the Lakefront trail. On Wednesdays and Fridays, Demons on the Run, a new recreational club for DePaul runners, meets at the Lincoln Park landmark known as the “Lemon Tree,” an enormous tree with a large sculpture of a lemon placed atop the stump. From there, they start their practices on Chicago’s well-known running path.

The club originated with president and founder Rheema Ayyash, a DePaul sophomore. Ayyash, who started running in high school, decided to pick up the sport again in college and wanted a community to motivate her. Her roommates wanted to start running by her side, and Ayyash recruited her fellow computer science classmates to help. Thus, the executive board was born. It includes Ayyash, Hazael Weilandgruber, Dhruti Amin, Ariana Rosales, Ximena Rangel and Alyssa Miller.

According to their mission statement, one of the main goals of the club is to “promote practices of safety and personal health while running.” Ayyash recalled finding herself in a rut in her own marathon training. She wanted to run fast, but sustained injuries were getting in the way of her goals.

“Eating, stretching and being careful will improve your running experience,” Ayyash said. “I don’t want people to go through what I went through because I lacked education and care for my body.”

Each practice begins with a thorough warm-up and stretches to guarantee that each runner is equipped to complete each run safely. The club also has two safety officers, Miller and Rangel, who will be at each run, monitoring everyone who attends and ensuring that no one is over-exerting themselves. Miller said the number of safety officers will increase as people join the club.

The club’s officers emphasized that no experience is required to join Demons on the Run. Ayyash said that the initial meeting and first practices had been an even mix of experienced runners and newbies. 

“Half of the exec board aren’t even big runners,” Miller said. “We’re all starting our running journeys together.”

 Due to the mix of experience, the first practices have consisted of mile trial times, where the officers get a sense of the members’ pace. This will allow them to split the club into pace groups for practices in the future. Additionally, Ayyash said this will give the runners an easy way to track their growth over the quarter and technical season.

 The club does not currently have funds due to its late start in the year and lack of time for fundraising. However, when fundraising begins in the fall, Ayyash hopes to begin having club members train for specific races. She envisions three tiers of membership: running for fun, training for local races, and training for out-of-state races. She also wants to begin fun activities for the group to get to know each other, like beach days, carb loads, ice cream post-runs and more. 

 “This is a pure hobby,” Ayyash said. “None of us are professional athletes, so I really want this club to be fun and exciting for everyone, while still allowing us to be active.” 

 Ayyash and Miller said that 15 to 20 people have been to each run thus far, which was more than expected. With the help of DeHUB, they said the club’s numbers are gradually rising. 

 “I am really excited for the weather to get warmer for our runs,” Katherine Walsh, sophomore and Demons on the Run member, said. “I heard that after one of the warm runs last week, Rheema took a plunge into the lake. I hope that becomes a tradition.”

 Demons on the Run hosts practices starting at the “Lemon Tree” in the Lincoln Park Zoo on Wednesdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Fridays, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. These runs take place along the Lakeshore path, allowing club members to run alongside others in the Chicago running community. Sundays are the club’s long run days with 10-plus miles, starting at the Armitage Brown Line after the group meets at 9:00 a.m.

Interested students can join the club through their DeHUB page or reach out with questions through Instagram DMs @DPU_DORC.

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