CBSN

November Project: More than a fitness movement

Scratchy morning voices yell "ahhh," belt acclaimed tunes from "The Lion King" and shout "good morning." The notes echo off of the Lincoln Memorial and sneakers begin to bounce in unison. Slowly rising over the Washington Monument, the sun breaks through spotty cloud coverage and casts a twinkle into every eye.

It is the November Project DC, a free, organized morning outdoor workout greased with human contact: wide smiles, sweaty hugs, high-fives and even elbow-fives.

The phenomenon started in Boston almost three years ago when two guys challenged one another to work out every day for the month of November. The month ended, but the workouts didn't.

Thanks to the power of social media and word of mouth, the group has hit the ground running in 17 cities. They call themselves a tribe and that tribe came to Washington, D.C., just over a year ago when Danny Metcalf and Steve Christensen were inspired by friends taking part in the workouts in Boston.

photo.jpg

"You don't need to be incredibly in shape to come, but you are going to come and smile, have a good time and before you know it you are accidentally in shape," Metcalf explained to CBS News. His whole life has been dedicated to living well. But in D.C. and across the country the phenomenon has caught on with people of all physical histories.

The numbers prove it: these days there are about 400 people on Wednesday mornings at the Lincoln Memorial. Just over a year ago the group was less than 10 people.

At 23, Metcalf is a co-leader of the group in D.C. that gathers at the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday mornings and at different locations throughout the city on Mondays and Fridays.

"The workout has some good cross-training, it is not just running, so I came and fell in love with it pretty immediately," said Kyle White, a marathon coach in Washington D.C.

It is born-boosters like Stephen Full, a coach at for the Georgetown women's rowing team, who push fellow tribe-members to the next level.

"There are all different people from all different backgrounds so I like it, I like pushing people and I like people pushing me," Full said, describing running up the last few steps and challenging a woman, who he had never met before, to catch him. She did.

In a city known for closed door meetings and meticulously writing the laws of the land, this group is screaming in public and all leaving inhibitions at bottom of the steps.