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Running DFW: Late Night Run Club Leaves Stereotypes in the Dust

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LAS COLINAS -- Twice a week, David Smith deftly organizes dozens of runners.

β€œIf you decide to run in the street, make sure you sign the waiver before we start,” he joked to the group.

Smith is the leader of the Late Night Run Club.Β  It's a big change for Smith. Just a few years ago, he was 50 pounds heavier and had never logged more than a couple of miles.

β€œYou see a picture of yourself and you're like, 'Oh, maybe I should do something about this,'” Smith said. β€œI told myself, you can sit on the couch or I can go outside and run and it worked for me.”

It all changed when Smith started the group with his friend Jenard Lee in 2012. Through word of mouth and an active Instagram, the group exploded.

β€œIt went from one location to six locations, even one in Los Angeles,” Smith said. "My goal is to have one in every city.”

Runners of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to pound the pavement.
In fact, the slowest runners and walkers get a head start to keep the group together.

β€œI probably lost 80 pounds just coming out here running twice a week,” said runner Patrick Johnson. β€œI never thought I would be out here running.”

It’s clear, this is more than just about running. There are group pictures after every run, theme nights and charity drives.

β€œWe have something coming up with Genesis Women's Shelter, accepting donations for school supplies,” Smith explained.

Part of LNRC's goal is to leave stereotypes in the dust. While runners from East Africa dominate the Olympics and marathons around the world, the majority of the pack can look overwhelmingly skinny and white.

In fact, according to a survey by Running USA, only 1.6% of regular runners in America are African-American. The Late Night Run Club is predominantly black.

β€œIt's not common, so anything we can do to bust any kind of stereotype about any group,” Smith said. β€œIf you're overweight, you may not be considered a runner but out here you are.”

Smith is certainly making strides, one mile at a time.

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