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Richmond running group We Off the Couch brings together 'all races, faces, shapes and sizes,' founder says

'A friend told a friend and it went from 2 people to 5 people. Now we're over 600 people on our Strava app.'
Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 15:32:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- One of the co-founders of the Richmond running group We Off The Couch is helping inspire others discover the sport that helped him take control of his life.

“I used to be 300 pounds," Anthony Clary recalled. "The doctor told me I was pre-diabetic, so I knew what that meant.”

Anthony Clary
Anthony Clary

The Richmond native knew he had to take control of his health, so he started with football and then later discovered distance running.

“I'm from the Blackwell area," he said. "I grew up there and I still live there on purpose — and I never knew there was a river a couple of blocks away from me."

As he discovered the trails near his home, he fell in love with them and lost his first 100 pounds. Now his goal is to share his new passion.

Anthony Clary
Anthony Clary

“So a friend told a friend, and a friend told a friend, and it went from two people to five people," Clary explained. "Now we're over 600 people on our Strava app."

Together Clary and his wife, Tara, created We Off The Couch and are helping inspire others.

“The biggest thing is that we get to do is community. We meet with all races, faces, shapes and sizes of folks from five to 75," Clary said. "One of the major things that we focus on at We off the Couch is the health component, and actually providing real knowledge, and actually providing real movement.”

We Off The Couch
We Off The Couch

The group supports other non-profits like the Sports Backers Kids Run RVA program and Relay Run Company.

“And what that effort does is it goes into underserved schools, and it teaches kids the sport of running," Clary said. "But we provide them brand-new running shoes, we provide them brand-new tracks spikes and then we also get out to the track meets and we cheer them on.”

We Off The Couch is making an impact on the lives of young people, something he experienced as a 17-year-old after his brother was robbed and killed.

“There was no amount of football or anything that could pull me from out of that dark place that I was in," Clary remembered. "But it was a group of people, much like we get to do today, that came into my life and that told me something different about myself.”

Conrad Lusagala
Conrad Lusagala

Conrad Lusagala, a run captain for the group, also learned something about himself when he joined the group during the pandemic.

“It has honestly opened my life in ways I never thought," Lusagala said. "It's given me the confidence to sign up to do things such as marathons and ultras and being in communities that I never thought I'd be a part of... I tell everyone that the pandemic was a blessing in chaos, because it brought a lot of people that never thought would be seen together.”

Lusagala is also a co-leader of the Richmond chapter of the national November project.

“It's a fitness group that welcomes anyone of all sizes, and paces that meets on Wednesdays at the VMFA," Lusagala said. "But the goal is to bring the community together to just have a fun and inclusive workout and leave to start your day off on a good note.”


Both fitness groups will come together at Saturday’s Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K.

Though the journey for Clary has had its challenges, he has embraced it.

“Our oldest daughter has autism. And I'll be honest with you, what Black men don't talk about a lot is stress and mental health," Clary said. "I was stressed out, not just because of my daughter, but being a Black man period. I'm also a social worker, I was taken on all of that stuff and not realizing that I needed an outlet.”

As a result, running became his lifeline.

“That's why I think I... really fell in love with the sport of running — and those are some of the things that we teach the entire community," Clary said.

There is still time to register for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K on Saturday.And be sure to look for the CBS 6 Cheer Station in the median at Monument and Tilden. Some of your favorite CBS 6 friends, as well as Storm Rider 6, will be on hand to motivate you.

We'll also be streaming LIVE coverage from our cheer station starting at 8:27 a.m. on our the CBS 6 Streaming App and Our app is available on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV. Just search "CBS 6 Richmond" in your app store.

Click herefor more information on We Off The Couch and click here to learn more about the November Project.