National fitness movement November Project takes global step forward

If Northeastern graduates and November Project co-founders Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham wake up in a city with a November Project tribe, they take part in the workout.

Of course, the pair acknowledges that it can be difficult attending the early morning sessions not as leaders but as participants. “To go from a leader to having to bite your tongue and go into the back row so the leaders can grow and develop their own styles is one of the hardest parts of my job,” said Graham, AS’06.

Thus has been the life of the former Northeastern rowers since fall 2014, when they abdicated as leaders of Boston’s November Project tribe to develop November Project chapters around the world.

Now almost five years after the movement was first launched, the organization counts tribes in more than 25 cities around North America and will soon welcome London, Amsterdam, and Orlando, Florida, to the mix.

“Things are going really great,” said Mandaric, AS’06. “We are growing and looking to expand in countries where we don’t have tribes yet.”

Mandaric and Graham started November Project as a way to maintain their post-collegiate fitness level, especially during the winter months in Boston, through a free and supportive community that welcomes everyone from elite athletes to weekend warriors. Workouts include running up and down the steps of Harvard Stadium, or running up and down Summit Avenue.

The story of the grassroots effort has been told on many different platforms, but this year November Project is the subject of two featured projects: November Project The Book was released in April and includes various stories from Graham, Mandaric, and members of the November Project community, and a documentary film produced by Dooster Film, whose founders have done November Project workouts, which is slated to come out in September.

“We are really excited we have a great outlet where we can tell our story in different ways,” Mandaric said. “When you sit down and get involved in a book and spill your guts and tell your emotional stories, that is the opportunity that many people don’t have and we are super lucky.”

The film chronicles the stories of eight different November Project participants from eight different cities. “Once the film is complete we are going to show it in as many places as possible,” Mandaric added.

Graham and Mandaric said they will continue working to foster and grow a sense of community among the November Project tribes, whether they are in Boston, Honolulu, or Istanbul.

“We are not driven by impressive city names,” Graham said. “We are driven by the people who are willing to lead. We had a tribe in Madison, Wisconsin, before we had one in Los Angeles. As long as you are going 100 percent, it could happen in Guam or Sioux Falls. Every day we are working to prove that theory.”