OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - "There's really no winners and no losers here," said long time runner Doug Snyder. "This is the night to just train and enjoy."
Don't be fooled, as Doug Snyder ran through the shaded Ocean Springs Thursday night, he almost always finishes the 3 mile trek in first place. Still, that's not why he does the weekly IPA runs.
"Because I've found my niche here," said Snyder. "I've got lots of friends here and I know I'm always improving myself."
It's that shared admiration for Thursday nights, which begin and end at the restaurant Mosaics, that have made the group grow so quickly.
"I said if I brought 10 or 15 people would you give us drink specials?" said founder Eric Collum. "Yea, I didn't ever imagine we'd be hitting 200 on a weekly basis."
When Collum started the group in September of 2012, Jodi Davis was one of the first recruits.
"I told him, I was like, 'There's no way you're going to find that many people,'" said Davis. "And, now there's more than 200 people every week and it's just grown so fast."
At the end of the run, everyone enjoys a discounted brew, making the 'IPA' name ever so fitting.
"Icy Pint Athletics is a play on words," said Collum. "IPA is a type of craft beer. We enjoy having a good time when we come back. It's not all about the beer."
For long time runner Lisa Roberts-Mudgett, it's not about the hops or even the running.
"They're like a family to me," said Roberts-Mudgett. "I wouldn't dream of missing a week. I don't like being away from them, ever."
Whether it's the friendship, the refreshment or the race to the finish, the weekly IPA runs continue to gain momentum, with a promise they're not slowing down anytime soon.
It's free to run with the group. They take off at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights. They've even started another group in downtown Bay St. Louis.