To bring people of all ages and fitness levels together to enjoy physical activity, socialize with friends and support local businesses.
The inspiration for Meet Me at the Market (MMM) began in Tucson, AZ when a member of the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau visited Meet Me at Maynards a free social walk and bike event that meets weekly in downtown Tucson. In 2012, as the city of Cedar Rapids began plans to become a Blue Zones Project® designated community, representatives from the City of Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation and Bike CR, Linn County Trails Association and Mercy Medical Center joined the Active Living Strategy Team to help make Cedar Rapids a community where being physically active would be easy, enjoyable and accessible. Locating the event in the NewBo District would help bring people to the revitalized neighborhoods and businesses impacted by the 2008 flood that devastated the area.
In the inaugural 2013 season, attendance exceeded the MMM steering committee’s expectations with final registration over 1400. Originally, MMM was designed for individual activity, or small groups of friends who wanted to exercise at their own pace. During the first season, it was discovered that group activities were preferred by many participants, so more group walks and runs were implemented. Corridor Running (formerly Cedar Valley Running Association) was instrumental in bringing runners to MMM. Their popular Couch to 5K program introduced over 70 new runners to the sport and to the Market in the first year. Yoga was introduced mid-season in 2013 when Lovar Davis Kidd volunteered to organize weekly free outdoor yoga classes.
Due to a desire to support improved bikeablity implemented by the City, the bike program was expanded in 2014 with leadership from Northtowne Fitness & Cycling and Bike2Work Consultants LLC. This resulted in a popular program of weekly destination rides, including rides to Brucemore and Mt. Trashmore, bike lanes education rides and “Bike with a Doc” with Mercy Medial Center physicians. Blue Zones Project® joined the steering committee in 2014 and coordinated monthly “Chef at the Market” cooking demonstrations. Additionally, Mercy Medical Center expanded the free medical screenings and health education program.
In 2015, MMM continued to expand. Using the success of the bike destination program as a guide, a similar plan was developed for the walking program, including monthly history walks led by Mark Stouffer Hunter. The 2015 season marked the transition to a paperless registration and check-in system with the introduction of the new website, MeetMeCR.org. MMM went “green” with the addition of online pre-registration at home or at check-in with iPads.
In 2016 an automated check-in system was installed. Participants are now able to check-in on-site from MMM iPads or their smart phone, or remotely from their home or work computer. Due to popularity of dance fitness classes during the 2015 season, Alicia with Dance Club Cardio joined the steering committee and began coordinating weekly outdoor dance fitness classes. Kris from We Run in North Liberty also joined the steering committee to lead weekly runs for the casual runner, in addition to runs sponsored by Corridor Running for the more serious runner.
MMM is a unique program in Iowa and in the nation in its effort to bring people together for outdoor activity that is not instruction or competition oriented. The free community event is a growing collaborative venture between NewBo City Market, the City of Cedar Rapids and numerous community businesses and organizations. MMM has become Cedar Rapids’ premiere social event for people who want to “mix, mingle, and move”!
Interested in telling others about Meet Me at the Market?
Members of the MMM Steering Committee are available to give a 10-15 minute PowerPoint presentation about Meet Me at the Market to community groups. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation for your business or organization, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Register online or in person and accept the waiver before your first MMM event.
- Check-in Thursdays after 3 p.m. from personal computer or phone, or 5 to 7 p.m. at the Market to be eligible for t-shirts and other incentive awards, while supplies last.
- Individuals are responsible for their own safety. Walk/run/bike defensively and obey traffic laws and signals.
- A helmet is required for all bicyclists.
- Stay to the right side of the trail or sidewalk. Be mindful of walkers, runners or bikers behind you.
- Pass on the left, call out when passing and slow down to pass. Do not pass until the route is clear and group to be passed is aware of you.
- When passing, be aware of oncoming traffic.
- Children must be supervised at all times.
- Courteous behavior is required at all times.
Q: How much does it cost to participate?
A: MMM is free of charge, thanks to the support of our sponsors. They provide the funds to develop the programs, promotion and free incentives, such as t-shirts.
Q: What happens when I arrive?
A: Register once per season online at home or on iPads at the check-in table located under the green awnings outside NewBo City Market. Then, check-in each week before or after your activity.
Q: What is the difference between registration and check-in?
A: Each participant must register once for the entire season and check-in each time they attend an MMM event. Registration and/or check-in may be done online prior to attending an MMM event or on iPads at MMM tables on Thursday nights. The ‘Register Now’ button is always available at MeetMeCR.org home page. The ‘Check-in Now’ button is only available on Thursdays, 3-8 p.m.
Q. I registered, but it won’t allow me to check-in from my computer or phone, because I can’t locate my name. What do I do?
A. There may be a typo error in your last name when you registered or you may have forgotten exactly how you entered your name at registration. Stop by the MMM tables for assistance from one of the volunteers.
Q: How do I change my registration information, such as email address, employer or shirt size?
A: Stop by the MMM tables on a Thursday night and one of the volunteers can help you make those changes.
Q: Why do I have to register and check-in each week?
A: We take attendance so we can award a MMM t-shirt on your fifth visit. We track individual attendance totals to create some friendly competition between participants and to give season total awards. It is important that everyone check-in each week, so we can report our statistics and successes to our sponsors and continue to offer MMM as a free program to the community!
Q: Do I have to participate in the same activity each week?
A: No, you can pick and choose your activity each week, and if schedules allow, you can do more than one activity in a night. Automatic check-in allows two activities each night.
Q: How will I know a good route if I don’t join one of the group activities?
A: Routes maps are can be found on the Activities page and are available at check-in.
Q: I cannot arrive at MMM until after 6 p.m. Is that too late to participate?
A: Group activities begin at 5:30 p.m. but check-in is open until 7 p.m. NewBo City Market remains open until 8 p.m. You may walk, bike or run individually or with a small group. You may check-in after the event if you are very late.
Q: Where do I park?
A: Participants are encouraged to park in City Lot 44, located at 11th Ave SE and 2nd St SE. Limited parking is available in front of NewBo City Market. Street parking is available along 3rd Street SE and surrounding area. If you are biking, consider biking from home or parking at one of the trailhead parking lots and biking to MMM.
Q: Are kids welcome?
A: Yes, MMM is family-friendly and your kids are always welcome. Please register and check them in each week to qualify for a MMM drawstring bag and water bottle. However, children must be supervised at all times.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: Dogs are allowed on NewBo City Market grounds, but they are not allowed inside the building. Please see Guidelines for Dogs at Meet Me at the Market
Q: How can I get a MMM t-shirt or water bottle?
A: Attend five times to earn a MMM t-shirt. Items available while supplies last!
Q: I have attended five times, but when I checked in last week it only showed four times. Can you adjust this?
A: Yes! Errors can happen, and we operate on the honor system. Just tell someone on the steering committee when you check-in next time, and we will make a note to correct your record and award you with your shirt!
Q: Is MMM cancelled due to bad weather?
A: Yes, in the event of severe weather, please watch weather forecasts and use your own judgment about attending. Group events will be cancelled if severe weather threatens. Announcements will be made on the Meet Me at the Market Facebook page and on the web page.