Distance in the Dark: DC running club serving those who serve you at night

Working late hours is part of the job when you’re in the hospitality industry. And if you’ve ever waited tables or worked at a bar, you also know that the real fun tends to happen after closing, when those who spent all night serving drinks get to unwind with a couple of drinks themselves.

It’s a social way to decompress after work. But a few beers or sugary cocktails mixed with fried food right before bed is not the healthiest way to live.

A group of restaurant pros in the District are hoping to come up with a new alternative.

“Distance in the Dark” is a running club for the service industry that takes off on the first Tuesday of every month, with a goal of increasing in frequency.

It was started in the D.C. area in part by Chris Morgan, who owns Bammy’s; Kevin Tien, who owns Moon Rabbit; and Holly Barzyk, who does PR in the restaurant world.

The goal was simple, said Morgan: “Creating something fun that we could do as an alternative to the typical what you do after work — go-grab-a-drink-decompress option — that exists and is all too common in the restaurant industry.”

He added, “At the end of the shift it’s you either go home or you go grab a drink.”

They saw a need for a new outlet that was healthier, but also social.

“For me, this is really exciting because I can give people an alternative that I didn’t have,” said Morgan, who spent years going to bars after work before giving up alcohol and living sober.

“I think being able to go for a run is a really cool outlet,” he added. “You still get that social aspect that you would get if you went to a bar but you can do it in a healthier fashion by going for a run with some friends and meet new people.”

While going for a late-night run by yourself might not be the safest way to exercise, the group aspect provides safety in numbers. This month’s run takes off at 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 from Bammy’s, which is in Yards Park near Southeast D.C.

Those who lace up their sneakers can expect about a 5K out of it, but there’s not a set course and there’s no expectation that you have to be fast and in shape.

You’re invited to run, jog, or even walk, and you won’t be left alone.

When everyone returns from Bammy’s, you can expect a few light snacks and nonalcoholic drinks to recharge yourself with after.

“We want it to be a thing,” said Morgan, that goes from once a month to more often. “I think there are a lot of people that want to do something else after work…Something fun that also isn’t revolving around getting (drunk) … where you can actually go and hang out with people and decompress in a fun way that’s healthier and won’t give you a headache when you wake up the following morning.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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Local News | Washington, DC News

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