We have to be completely honest. When Jonathan initially reached out to us to come check out their running club, we saw the name Hill Runners and instantly felt a twinge of fear mixed with nausea. Don’t get us wrong, we run. We’ve done the Lausanne half-marathon, the ridiculously hilly 20K, and try to keep fitness in our schedule several times a week at the gym, but a club dedicated to running the hills of Lausanne? Non merci.
But then we went. And we were immediately struck by casual and familiar nature of it all. A group of friends (old and new), gathering together in the shadow of Lausanne’s iconic cathedral, high-fiving and hugging and joking with one another–the energy was infectious, the friendliness genuine, and the humor…well, hilarious.
Even though we had just met all of these people, we wanted to be a part of this. Whatever this was. Don’t get us wrong: we felt like quitting several times throughout the workout. It was challenging; we felt the burn, the windedness, the aches–but we also felt the energy, the endorphins, the camaraderie. And at the end of the workout, there was a sense of shared accomplishment (and a shared desire to grab a beer!). And the best part? We aren’t afraid of the hills anymore…well, not as much.
We asked Jonathan, one of the founders of the DNH runners club, to shed some light on who they are and what they do:
Who are the DNH runners club?
We are a group of young people from all backgrounds who come together to socialize, break a sweat, and push each other to stay fit. The mood is casual, the runners friendly, the effort is real.
How did you come up with the idea to start the group?
It started in 2014 when we just thought it would be nice to run with more people. Quickly, meeting at the cathedral on tuesdays became a tradition. It was organic. We realized we could make it official, and motivate more people to join and promote a healthier lifestyle.
It’s someone’s first time, what can they expect from a session?
Don’t worry, part of DNH’s “philosophy” is to make people want to run. So the group adapts its pace. The point is to have a nice time together, not to push yourself to the extreme. If we have to wait a bit for someone that’s at different different pace, it’s fine, we’ll do a few sit-ups!
At the end of the sesh, you can expect great camaraderie and a nice kick of endorphins. We like to think you’ll want to come back.
What’s the purpose of the group?
Pretty simple: Meeting new people, exploring the nooks and crannies of the city, improving our health, motivating each other, and feeling part of something.
What if I’m a non-runner or beginner? What if I’m an expert runner?
We never leave a runner behind. We try to create a dynamic in which the beginner learns from those who are more experienced, and the expert gets to share a couple tips. Cheer and be cheered!
Do you guys do anything else besides running?
Everybody in DNH has a different background and set of skills. We have teachers, graphic designers, DJs, sport majors, carpenters, business owners, the list goes on. We put these skills to use to promote the team. It is a way of expressing ourselves creatively, it adds purpose to what we enjoy doing, be it hosting bingo nights and dance parties with the freshest local DJs, making funky tee-shirts, or recording mixtapes. Our latest project is to host a cheering area for the Lausanne 20k. Expect some cold lemonade, cupcakes and confetti.
To learn more about the DNH Hill Runners, check out their Facebook page or join in on one of their sessions (Tuesday evening at 18:50 in front of the Cathedral, or Thursday evenings at 18:50 at the “Stade Pierre de Coubertin” in Vidy).
**One more thing to note: LADIES ARE [MORE THAN] WELCOME…they actually need more female representation, so grab your lady friend, tie up those trainers, and hit the pavement because women #runlausanne too! 😉