LiveWell Louisiana

Happy’s Running Club

RUN HAPPY: Exercise, and enjoy a refreshing reward
June 9th, 2014 by: Lianna Patch

Originally founded in Baton Rouge by Scott Higgins, Happy’s Running Club came to New Orleans in July 2012 through founding member Mark Berger. The club’s weekly group run attracts up to 100 participants, who meet at Happy’s Irish Pub on Poydras Avenue, run one of several pre-mapped routes and then reconvene at Happy’s for a chilly pint. “Basically, it’s a fun 5K,” Berger says. “Every Wednesday afternoon, we meet at 5:48 and start running at 6:16.”

Why those unusual starting and ending times? “I don’t like normal times!” Berger laughs. “Really, though, it gets people looking at the time more. It keeps people more interested.” Runners of all skill levels take part in the weekly run — and some only run part of the route. “It doesn’t matter if you want to run three miles, three blocks or just sit at the bar and pretend you’re running,” Berger says.

In combining the opposing pastimes of drinking and fitness, Happy’s Running Club takes the pressure out of exercising and emphasizes the sport’s more social aspects. 
“People say it’s comfortable,” Berger says. “They don’t feel intimidated by other runners. It’s very laid-back; everybody is welcome, and the routes are also fun.”  

Happy’s also hosts regular running events, including themed races where wearing costumes is highly encouraged. In the past, the club has raised money for charities and nonprofits including Covenant House, the American Cancer Society, Girls on the Run and Youth Run NOLA. “I want to make it a community thing, so it’s really for people to get involved and not just [to] single out one running store or one group of people,” Berger says. You find more info and "like" Happy's Running Club  online at