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Become a Runner

New to running? Or starting to run again after a long hiatus? This is the beginner running program for you.


The YMCA joins Well-U for a 12-week training program designed to help new runners prepare safely and efficiently for a 5k. YMCA coaches will lead you through a gradual progression of walking and jogging that will transform you from someone who has never run before to someone who will confidently complete a 5k (3.1 miles).

Program includes

  • 9 weeks of group runs/training sessions*
  • YMCA guest passes and cycling class passes
  • 3 weeks of “homework assignments” (Daily workouts will be assigned to participants). Don’t like to run alone? Plan to meet up with others from the program to complete your workouts.
  • Motivational training emails

Weekly group training sessions are held outside, so come prepared with sneakers and appropriate workout attire for the weather. Well-U and the YMCA are not responsible for personal belongings.

Program eligibility & reimbursement

All regular full and part-time University of Rochester faculty and staff are eligible to participate (friends & family are also eligible to participate, but will not receive the reimbursement). You will register for Become a Runner through the YMCA website. Participants will pay out-of-pocket for the full cost of the program ($63) up-front and will be reimbursed by Well-U 100% of the cost after completing at least 7 of the 9 weekly in-person group training sessions. The reimbursement will be loaded into the employee’s paycheck after program completion.

* Failure to attend a minimum of 7 sessions will result in no reimbursement. Refunds will not be issued.

Dates & Locations

Become a Runner will return in the Fall 2019. Check back then for more information!


Will there be free parking available?

  • Saunders Research Building: parking is available in the visitor lot at Saunders Research Building for a fee. Well-U will not cover the cost of parking. If you’re coming from off-site, there is free parking in the College Town garage. This is about a 10 minute walk to Saunders Research Building.
  • College Town: Yes, free parking is available up to 4 hours

Info sessions

We encourage you to attend an info session prior to registering for the Become a Runner Program. This will give you a chance to meet the coaches, look over the training plan, and ask questions before committing to the program.

Note: Once you register for the program, refunds will not be issued. Attend an info session to be sure Become a Runner is the right program for you.