With 4– to 5–mile runs scheduled nearly every day of the week, it’s no surprise that the Nixa Running Club is a popular group for those who love nothing more than hitting the open road on foot. Even with a meet-up time of 4:45 a.m., this group often kicks off the morning with more than 40 runners in attendance. The group was started by Shannon Cochran, an administrative assistant at CoxHealth, in 2009 after both of Cochran’s parents died and her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. “I just went for a run one day, and it felt good,” Cochran says, looking back on that first run. Since then, Cochran has watched as her small running group of four has grown into a dedicated collection of 100-plus runners. The group meets five days each week in Nixa for 4– to 5–mile runs. The routes are always predetermined, and no one ever runs alone. Every runner has a partner. That’s one of the draws of this group: safety. “You don’t want to run by yourself,” says Lindsay Jones. “It’s just not safe.” Jones, who co-owns Red Poppy Boutique, is a marathon runner who started running with the Nixa club as a way to learn new routes and to meet other runners. No matter the weather or temperature, runs are never canceled. Even when it was -11°F, Cochran and the rest of the Nixa runners were out on the roads, taking it one step at a time.