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New runners club starts on Sanibel

By Staff | Aug 26, 2015

On the second and fourth Tuesday of the month the Matzaluna Run Club will meet at 1200 Periwinkle Way at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. run. MEGHAN McCOY

Runners gathered at Matzaluna – The Italian Kitchen at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, before departing down Periwinkle Way for the Matzaluna Run Club’s inaugural run.

“We are looking to create a little community of runners,” Prawnbroker Restaurant Group Vice President of Marketing and Operations Mark Blust said. “It’s not about racing. Team up with someone of your own skill level . . . maybe someone who just wants to get into it. It’s a great social way to get out there and kind of embrace it a little bit. If the bug grabs them then great.”

Before the run began last week, an introduction was provided sharing the concept of the club, which is free of charge. Each runner also had to sign a waiver to participate.

The route for the inaugural run took participants down Periwinkle Way to East Gulf Drive before circling back to Donax Street. For those who wanted to travel a shorter distance took Lindgren Boulevard to Donax Street.

“The thought process is I’m a runner,” Blust said of why he began the club. “But I have been slacking off, so I said ‘how can I find a way to motivate me a little more.'”

In addition to running and road cycling, he has also participated in Olympic triathlons. Unfortunately in January he hit a wall and then season began. Blust said he did not catch much of a break after the winter season with only a few soft weeks before summer became busy.

“It’s been a little exhausting physically, so to try to find that ump in the morning . . . I will run in the morning around 6 or 6:30 and (there are more) no’s then yeses,” he said.

The club is modeled after a club based out of New York at Shake Shack, a burger and shake joint.

“They have started a run club and because they are kind of multi-unit, they kind of run in-between different units and now they have other franchises in Philadelphia and Miami,” Blust said. “So it is kind of modeled after that.”

Since the club is associated with Matzaluna, it will feature the restaurants brand. He said it’s about promoting the brand and bringing different age groups of clienteles on the island together.

“We have a vibrant young professionals organization and a few of them will be participating here tonight,” he said.

The Matzaluna Run Club will meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. run. After the run concludes, food and beverage specials will be offered for the participants.

“Obviously we want you to come out and have fun and then have a beer and pizza,” Blust said, which includes the robust craft beer program of eight drafts and 15 bottles, all from Florida.

The next run in September will take participants from Matzaluna’s to their sister restaurant Timbers, which is about 5 miles.

“We will play with different routes as the need arises to keep it from getting boring,” Blust said.

He encourages everyone to put on their rung shoes and have some fun with the club.

As the club takes off, T-shirts will be created. Blust said he is working on a specific logo for the running club as well.

For more information, vista www.Facebook.com/MatzalunaTheItalianKitchen and leave a message. Matzaluna is located at 1200 Periwinkle Way.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.