Almost every Monday around 5:20 p.m. I find myself strolling south on Fourth Avenue, below the underpass and emerging at the intersection of Toole & Congress. In the courtyard of Hotel Congress dozens of people mill around wearing a variety of athletic clothes. Some people bring their pooches. A band plays (usually our old friends, The Determined Luddites) and there are tables lining the fence, manned by volunteers with MMM gear.

Meet Me at Maynards, which originally did meet at Maynards Kitchen across the way on Toole, was begun by Jannie Cox and Dave Syverson in 2009 after they took a trip to Colorado and saw how a pub had accomplished two goals: 1.) To bring business to the area and more importantly, 2.) To encourage people to exercise with their community! Thus, Meet Me at Maynards was born.

Downtown Tucson has seen a lot of changes over the years, and it was only a short time ago when businesses down there were really struggling. Some still are. But with the completion of the 4th Avenue Underpass and a plethora of local business owners and community members collaborating for an event like MMM, things have gotten progressively better. Dare I say it? Downtown Tucson is getting cool.

The newfound coolness of downtown Tucson needs be relegated to another post. But MMM is part of why it has started to be revived. From 5-7 p.m. every Monday, walkers, runners, families, dog-owners, lifetime athletes or folks just starting their journey off the couch can all convene and choose to walk or run a 2, 3, or 4 mile route around downtown Tucson. By getting a MMM hand stamp, you can get discounts from 20 different local businesses, most of them restaurants. It’s great incentive to patronize businesses downtown, as well as to check out Tucson’s thriving culinary scene. We favor the discount ($5 off an entree of $9.95+) at El Charro, but there are lots to choose from!

The benefits to our local economy are obvious, but what is even cooler is the sense of community MMM reinforces for exercise. In a town like Tucson that feels so small, it is made even smaller by the smiling faces of the runners you might see on a weekly basis. MMM does raffles, dinner call-outs, sell MMM merchandise. It’s so popular that there’s now a Meet Me in Marana and, starting April 1, Meet Me at La Encantada, for our Foothills folks. Oh, and did I mention that if you don’t want to run, you can still get MMM credit by doing the 5:30 YogaHour with Stephani Lindsey (one of my absolute favorite yoga instructors!) for only $4. OR, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could also try the spinning class at O2 Modern Fitness. We like to wave at the stationary cyclists as we jog by. Some of them wave back. All of them seem to be getting an excellent workout.

In the few months I’ve been regularly attending MMM, I’ve gone from someone who could barely run a mile to doing 5ks. That may not seem like a big accomplishment, but for me it has been something I am proud of. So, if you’re ever bored on a Monday evening, or want an excuse to procrastinate from work, or a reason to check out some great restaurants downtown with a discount, meet us at Maynards!* 🙂

*And by Maynards, I really mean Hotel Congress, where MMM has moved.