Tom Ryan doesn’t like to miss out on the Frun.
The dedicated runner works at the Scotia Water Department and typically is on the job during the hours when members of the Albany Running Exchange host the annual Group Frun Day — an all-day schedule of jaunts throughout the Capital Region Saturday.
That’s why he started a tradition of getting up to lead an excursion around the village at the crack of dawn.
He led a brisk 12-mile jog that kicked off at 5 a.m. during the first so-called Frun — for “fun run” — and then bumped the trek back to 4 a.m. last year.
Now he’s trying something different: Starting off with a 4-mile run from Jumpin’ Jack’s parking lot at midnight Friday and then another one from the same place nearly 24 hours later.
“I just kind of wanted to be first and last,” Ryan said; he typically runs about 25 miles per week.
The Frun was established as a day to encourage club members to start their own excursions around the area and others to join them. During the first event, runners scheduled 64 different courses that were ran by hundreds from around the region.
Josh Merlis, the running exchange’s founder, said, “Close to half the membership signed up for those runs.”
The first Frun was even enough to draw a proclamation from the Albany City Council in April 2010. And the event has continued to gain steam.
As of Thursday, runners had scheduled 31 events throughout the area, ranging in length from under two miles to nearly as long as a marathon — 26.2 miles.
Some runs draw only a handful of runners. Others, such as Roxanne Gillen’s 5-mile loop through Guilderland and Schenectady, has nearly four dozen signed up.
The runs also stretch across the Capital Region. Merlis said several exchange members decided to group their events in a way that participants can run from one to another.
The runs are open to the public, though organizers encourage participants to join up through the exchange web site. Merlis said the Frun generally draws a few non-members,
Meanwhile, members of the exchange can expect a good workout. Merlis said some won’t stop running until long after the sun goes down.
“There will be members of our club running every single hour of the day.”
For more information about the Frun or to find a race near you, log onto www.albanyrunningexchange.org.