Runners Brad Clarke of Bethel, foreground, and Jasper Houston of Greenwood are part of a newly formed Bethel running group. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — On a recent Thursday, 15 runners gathered on Philbrook Street in Bethel. Two men wore shorts; several people wore head lamps and reflective gear; and one baby was wearing her Kelly green snow suit.

“We feel like we struck a chord and tapped into something that the town is excited about,” said Monika Pfistner Krahn, of Bethel, who started the running club, with husband, Dan on Nov. 2.  They run with their 15 month-old daughter, Heron.

On Sunday mornings the informal group starts at 8 a.m. at Gemini Cafe. The Thursday loop starts at 5:15 p.m. at Watershed Wood-Fired Kitchen. Both restaurants are in Bethel Village. Pfistner Krahn said meeting at Gemini and Watershed has been a good feeder program since other patrons see their group, become interested, and sometimes join the following week.

Pfistner Krahn said when the snow flies they may replace some of the runs with either Nordic or uphill skiing.  In the summer they may switch to trail runs. She and Dan update the others via an Instagram account @everybirdy.runclub and a Strava account.

The newly formed Bethel Runner’s Club heads up Main Street in November. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

Monika stresses the club’s inclusivity: “Everyone is welcome, it doesn’t matter your pace… doesn’t matter if you want to walk, doesn’t matter your age … Everyone is welcome. That’s where the name comes from – ‘Every Birdy Run Club.'” (like everybody run club, with a logo of a heron).

“We really weren’t sure if it was going to be [just] us and two other friends. So far, almost every time we’ve met, there have been new people … and people are bringing their friends and telling other people about it,” said Monika Pfistner Krahn. While most people are from nearby, a couple from Rumford is there on a Sunday and a woman from Norway comes on a night run.


The Sunday five-mile looped-run route is from Bethel Village to Broad Street, a left on Paradise, to a left on Vernon Street, then straight back to the Village. On Thursdays, the loop is shortened to a left on Eden (off Paradise), to a left on Vernon Street and back to town. Monika said she likes the loop, so no one gets lapped.

On Thursday night, Monika’s husband, Dan, who works as a college counselor at Gould Academy was there with his colleague, Brad Clarke, of Bethel, a Gould history teacher. Clarke’s son Caleb Clarke and his partner Georgia Grzywacz, both work at Gemini Cafe on Sundays but come on Thursday nights. Monika said Clarke and Grzywacz have the option of jumping in since they live on the route, but haven’t.

On the other hand, Michelle Zagardo and baby Hadley in the jogger stroller, take the opportunity to skip the uphill and jump in to join her husband, Darrell Hoy and the others near the top of Paradise.

But, no matter where runners start, or even if they choose to walk a shorter route, they all end up together – around a table, with a cup of coffee at Gemini or a slice of pizza at Watershed.

Sunday runs start at 8 a.m. at: Gemini Cafe, 96 Main Street, Bethel. Thursday runs start at 5:15 at Water Shed Wood Fired Kitchen, 11 Philbrook Street, Bethel.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: