I Joined a Harry Potter Themed Virtual Running Club and It’s the Best Thing Ever!

Well, that title pretty much says it all, but I’ll give you the nitty gritty details anyway because I think my husband has probably heard enough statements starting with, “So, in the Hogwarts Running Club…” J/K, he can’t wait for my daily report. 🙂  Previously, it was “Guess what I read about cloth diapers….” so I’m sure this is actually quite a refreshing change. (BTW is anyone interested in what I read about cloth diapers??? I have LOTS to say! hahaha) Anyways, I’m getting off track.  Let’s start at the beginning.

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away…..wait, wrong universe!

Really, though, I have been following The Hogwarts Running Club (HRC) on Facebook for maybe 2 or 3 years. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and as soon as I heard about HRC, I was all, “sign me up!!!”. But I didn’t really sign up. For whatever reason, I just watched from the sidelines. (ugh.. Past Amy is the worst!)

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The kind of awesome thing that gets posted in the HRC

Now fast forward to this January. I was contemplating running a half marathon in March, and in order to have any hope of making this possible, I needed to get my butt in gear (and fast). To do this, I decided to sign up for my first HRC virtual race, which had just opened for registration.  In general, virtual races don’t motivate me to quite the same extent as in person races, but having a 5k on the calendar (virtual or otherwise) would at least push me to run 5k, my current distance being a tad shy of that. Plus I’d get a themed medal, and the money goes to charity.  Both good things. It was signing up for this race that spurred me to find out more and really become a member of the HRC.

Here’s a little Q & A-

How does a virtual running club work?

This is the only virtual running club I’ve ever belonged to so I can’t really give you a one size fits all description, but this particular club is a virtual community (on Facebook) of runners who all love Harry Potter and motivate each other to run. There are themed virtual races and competitions.

What makes this one Harry Potter themed?

First of all, the virtual races have Harry Potter themes. The one I registered for was the Alaster “Mad Eye” Moody Constant Vigilance 5k. They also have a yearly Platform 9 3/4K. Additionally, members join one of four houses (or designate themselves as faculty/independent) and miles are tracked between houses for a year long House Cup competition.

How do I become a member of the Hogwarts Running Club?

Anyone can follow the Hogwarts Running Club on Facebook. To really join up, though, you need to request to join the closed Facebook group “The Great Hall”. From there you can read all the relevant info about the club, and go on to join the Facebook group associated with your house.

How do you pick a house?

The official recommendation is to be sorted on Pottermore.com or take another online quiz. I went with Pottermore and was sorted into Gryffindor. (This surprised me, I thought I’d be Ravenclaw for sure). When it really comes down to it though, you have final say. According to club rules you can even join two houses for a couple weeks to find out where you fit in best. And this is important, because your house is where you get most of your motivation.

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I knit this as a gift, but couldn’t resist trying it on myself. (And pretending to cast a spell with my knitting needle wand)

How are miles tracked?

HRC uses the Charity Miles app to track miles for the house cup. They ask you to join both the HRC team and your house team within the app, so total miles can be tracked as well as the house specific miles. These miles are tallied each week and houses are awarded points depending on miles per person for that week. This week, there is a special challenge and it’s Gryffindor/Slytherin vs Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw teams.  Right now, Gryffindor is in last place for the House Cup, and this fact has been MAJOR motivation to get me moving!

Anything else?

There is definitely a charity aspect to this running club. Registration fees for the virtual races go to charity (and they are tax deductible!) and Charity Miles is used for tracking mileage. HRC is run by a non-profit, and there is a lot of encouragement to log more miles in order to do #somuchgood

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I’ll never get a letter from Hogwarts; I’ve got this though!

I hope this helps explain the Hogwarts Running Club. This whole experience has been really great so far. Most importantly because it’s gotten me so excited about running! I strongly encourage any other running Harry Potter fans to check it out!

Need more info? http://www.hogwartsrunningclub.org/faq.html

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