This is November Project

About five months ago, a pretty girl told me I should drag my ass out of bed to work out with this group of yahoos called The November Project. Before this recruitment effort, my only experience with November Project was seeing a few of its members pass me in the races I ran last year, not knowing exactly what it was but curious nonetheless. Then magazine articles, blog posts, radio segments, etc., started popping up, and they were firmly in my consciousness. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- Members of the November Project run the seats and walk down the stairs at Harvard Stadium for their Wednesday morning workout on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — Members of the November Project run the seats and walk down the stairs at Harvard Stadium for their Wednesday morning workout on Nov. 20, 2013.

With that motivating fire lit, I set my alarm clock for 5 a.m. for my first workout at Harvard Stadium, where November Project runs the seats every Wednesday, rain or shine. Right off the bat, I got what they were all about when co-founder Brogan Graham, who’s easily a foot taller than me, lifted me off the ground in a huge bear hug before I even had a chance to introduce myself. Fitness came secondary to what NP is really all about – Community.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- Members of the November Project make their way up the steps into Harvard Stadium in the pre-dawn hour for their Wednesday morning workout on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — Members of the November Project make their way up the steps into Harvard Stadium in the pre-dawn hour for their Wednesday morning workout on Nov. 20, 2013.

November Project bills itself as a “Grassroots Fitness Movement,” and its reach has expanded across North America with “tribes” in San Francisco, San Diego, Washington D.C., Madison, Wisc., Edmonton, and Denver. It’s gotten quite a bit of national exposure with a cover story in the December issue of Runner’s World and other magazines, but ironically, not a whole lot of local attention. Tom Layman, a colleague of mine at the Boston Herald and a fellow NP member, approached me a few months back about changing that with a feature for Herald. All of the photos in this post are from that assignment.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project co-founder Brogan Graham cheers on members as they finish the final section, 37 in total, at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project co-founder Brogan Graham cheers on members as they finish the final section, 37 in total, at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project member Nina DeLuca, 52, is greeted with a tunnel of hands as she runs up the second to last-section of her workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project member Nina DeLuca, 52, is greeted with a tunnel of hands as she runs up the second-to-last section of her workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

In a very short amount of time, November Project has become a highlight to my week, and I get to do it three times a week if I’m not sick or injured, all while getting fit and having fun — for free! — in the process. The folks I’ve met along the way have been some of the most inspiring I’ve seen. Just show up once, and you’ll see.

Here are the rest of the photos!

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project co-founders Bojan Mandaric, left, and Brogan Graham discuss their plans for the day's workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. Graham is holding the "Helping Hand Award," which is given to a member who has helped out other members in the self-described "tribe."

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project co-founders Bojan Mandaric, left, and Brogan Graham discuss their plans for the day's workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. Graham is holding the "Helping Hand Award," which is given to a member who has helped out other members in the self-described "tribe."

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project member Manuel Gonzales dishes out high fives to members as they finish their workout, running up the seats of 40 sections, at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project member Manuel Gonzales dishes out high fives to members as they finish their workout, running up the seats of 40 sections, at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project member Jessica Colgan-Snyder, working out on the due date of her pregnancy, cheers on other runners as they run the seats at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project member Jessica Colgan-Snyder, working out on the due date of her pregnancy, cheers on other runners as they run the seats at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project member Laura Ingalls DJs the workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project member Laura Ingalls DJs the workout at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/20/2013 -- BOSTON -- November Project members Evan Dana and Katy Driscoll break in to an impromptu dance off while running the seats at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/20/2013 — BOSTON — November Project members Evan Dana and Katy Driscoll break in to an impromptu dance off while running the seats at Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20, 2013.

11/15/2013 -- BROOKLINE, Mass. -- To celebrate his birthday, November Project co-founder crowd surfs into the self-described "tribe" before the group's Friday morning hill workout on Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/15/2013 — BROOKLINE, Mass. — To celebrate his birthday, November Project co-founder Brogan Graham crowd surfs into the self-described "tribe" before the group's Friday morning hill workout on Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013.

11/15/2013 -- BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Members of the November Project run up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. The group, which meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m., rain or shine, to perform various workouts. (Kelvin Ma)

11/15/2013 — BROOKLINE, Mass. — Members of the November Project run up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. The group, which meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m., rain or shine, to perform various workouts.

11/15/2013 -- BROOKLINE, Mass. -- November Project member Katie Fithian, right, escorts fellow member Ashley Brow, who is blind, up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. Brow has been walking or running up the hill for the past 4 months. (Kelvin Ma)

11/15/2013 — BROOKLINE, Mass. — November Project member Katie Fithian, right, escorts fellow member Ashley Brow, who is blind, up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. Brow has been walking or running up the hill for the past 4 months.

11/15/2013 -- BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Members of the November Project run up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. The group, which meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m., rain or shine, to perform various workouts. (Kelvin Ma)

11/15/2013 — BROOKLINE, Mass. — Members of the November Project run up Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. The group, which meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m., rain or shine, to perform various workouts.

11/15/2013 -- BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Members of the November Project huddle together for a group photo, a tradition after every workout, at the top of Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013. (Kelvin Ma)

11/15/2013 — BROOKLINE, Mass. — Members of the November Project huddle together for a group photo, a tradition after every workout, at the top of Summit Avenue in Brookline on Nov. 15, 2013.