The November Project: A New Cult of Exercise
Starting in Boston four years ago, and spreading in an impressively organic way, the November Project is either the next big thing in fitness or a quirky workout fad that will only win over a thousand people. But that doesn’t seem to bother its participants or leaders, who charge nothing and make sure that only the dedicated get to participate.
Starting at 6:30am (or earlier) in various cities, a group that this NY Times article describes as an “Early-morning workout flash mob” runs, leaps and plays high-intensity games outside no matter the weather. Seriously. Despite the eight feet of snow in Boston this year, not a single workout has had a weather delay.
The November Project has all the earmarks of a movement: their own lingo, merit badges and “rules” about interaction (no handshakes, and you have to touch a stranger’s nose in the morning and say, “I’m glad you’re here.”). The odd rules can definitely turn off a lot of people, but it’s also shown some pretty notable success. There are up to 1,500 participants in Boston. And that is even more notable when you consider how tough it is to be considered an official “November Project” affiliate — it takes a year and you have to start when it’s freezing to make sure people aren’t just literally fair-weather fans.
The November Project gained some buzz a few years ago when Andrew Ferrence, a former Boston Bruin, started showing up for workouts to stay in shape during the NHL players lock out. And it looks like the workout is here to stay as it has expanded into 19 different cities.