Running group

These runners were on hand for a recent 5 a.m. Wednesday run with a new group called Running Royse City. They are (front row from left) Dorcas Schale, Crystal Morrison, Andrea Oliver and Shirley Hart. Those on the back row are (from left) Brody Johnston, Summer Gaskill, Christie Watts, Sheila Whitney and Scott Jensen. Jim Hardin

A woman looked out her window early one morning in October and saw something very suspicious in her Royse City neighborhood -- a small group of people wearing blinking red lights and carrying small flashlights.

And they were running.

She made a call to the Royse City Police Department and officers responded. They caught up with the suspicious group of running men and women as they returned to their cars at City Lake Park.

One of the responding officers advised group members that it would be a good idea to call the police department the next time they plan to run the streets of Royse City in the pre-dawn hours.

On that particular morning, the men and women -- members of a new group called Running Royse City -- were making a preview run of the course for the RunFest 5K that was scheduled the next week.

They run on a regular basis, but they don’t call the police department prior to their early morning runs. Officers know now that the group has a standing schedule to run at 5 a.m. each Wednesday.

They meet on Main Street in downtown Royse City and then run a predetermined route.

They wear blinking lights and reflective clothing because they want to be seen by motorists. The flashlights? They don’t want to be tripped up -- or broken up -- by stepping into a pothole on Royse City’s darkened streets.

Summer Gaskill said the new group was organized about Oct. 1 after a suggestion by Don Jamison of CrossFit Royse City. Gaskill was a logical choice to be an organizer of the group because she is an active CrossFit participant, an avid runner and member of the Rockwall Running Club.

On that first day, Gaskill said, about 10 runners answered the early morning call to run. Today, she said, eight to 15 runners meet each Wednesday morning on Main Street near The Well Coffee Lounge for instructions about their run of three to five miles.

“This is a good group for runners at all levels,” she said.

There are seasoned runners and beginner runners in the group. And there’s even an opportunity for brand new runners.

Members also run different per-mile paces and different distances.

Gaskill said it’s also a good group for potential participants who are reluctant to join because they can’t keep up with the fast runners. Before each run, participants tend to group based on their per-mile pace and desired running distance.

A strict rule, Gaskill said, is that nobody runs alone.

The Running Royse City Facebook page is a good place to go for runners -- or potential runners -- who want to find out more information about the group.

Gaskill said she is seeing a growing interest in the group. The Facebook group has more than 80 members. Now, Gaskill said, she would like to see more of those members out on the streets at 5 a.m. Wednesdays.

No appointment or reservation is required, according to Gaskill.

Runners just need to show up shortly before 5 a.m. and be ready to run at 5. And check for updates on the Facebook page, she said, for possible schedule changes, updates, events and additional running opportunities.