Posts tagged with Running
Is there an injury in my future? Where do I have specific muscle weakness that if addressed will prevent a strain or sprain? Saturday morning, take a few minutes to have your run or walk stride video-analyzed by our physical therapy team. Doors open at 8:00am and we will run until noon. You can also enjoy free chair massages, talk with foot and ankle physician Dr. Waterman, hear from the running and shoe experts of Ad Astra running company, and enjoy coffee and snacks from J&S Coffee, t. Loft and the Merc!
1311 Wakarusa Drive #1000 Lawrence, KS www.therapyworkskansas.com 785-749-1300
The race season is almost upon us! For seasoned runners and newcomers alike, now is the time to prepare for those 5K’s and beyond. Most running injuries tend to occur when people are returning to running, just getting started, increasing their distance, or attempting to increase their speed. In preparation for hitting the running trails, we at TherapyWorks have put together a list of running injuries and how to prevent them.
One of the most common injuries I see as a physical therapist is patellofemoral pain syndrome, commonly referred to as “runner’s knee”. With runner’s knee people will often have pain around their knee cap. In order to prevent such discomfort runners should assess their shoes for proper arch support and work to strengthen their glutes, hips, and quads. Rest time, icing, avoiding running downhill, and cross training are other ways to combat runner’s knee successfully.
Another common injury is shin splints, that achy pain in the front of your shins that has sidelined many a runner, but what numerous people do not know is that your hip flexors might be at fault.
As always shoe fit and proper support is important, along with cross training, rest, and ice, but strengthening your hip flexors is another good place to start your preparations for success.
Hamstring pain can also plague runners. If you have pain in the muscle at the back of your thigh and the pain was sudden, strong, and leaves the area with bruising you should consider consulting a medical professional. Hamstring tears may require extended rest, sometimes for months, before the runner is able to safely return to running. Chronic overuse injuries, which are less severe, generally require running at a slow and easy pace. In order to prevent this discomfort from ever befalling you, consider adding hamstring stretching and strengthening to your routine.
Next in the list of nagging injuries that can get between you and a good jog is IT band syndrome. Runners often get pain down the outside of their thighs from the hip to the knee if they suffer from weak hip musculature, namely abductors and glutes.
Another concern is proper arch support to prevent over-pronation at the foot. Exercises to strengthen the gluts and abductors, also stretches for the IT band, can help to get you back on the trails or assure that you never have to leave them.
Last, but certainly not the least, is plantar fasciitis. This a nasty pain that can show up in your heal during your first step of the morning or in your arch during your run. The plantar fascia covers the base of your foot from the heel to your toes and those without proper arch support, with tight calves, and/or with a weak core often fall prey to this nasty injury. Rolling a frozen water bottle under your feet, stretching your calves, wearing proper arch supports, and strengthening your core can all help to treat and prevent foot pain from getting in the way of your run.
In summary strengthening of both your legs and core is very important. Stretching is nonnegotiable if you want to be able to run for many years to come. If pain is preventing you from lacing up your tennis shoes, though, feel free to call TherapyWorks to schedule a free screen so we can assess if physical therapy is just the thing to get you back in action.
Megan Remmert, DPT TherapyWorks www.therapyworkskansas.com
Interested in knowing what a professional thinks about your running stride? Is there an injury waiting to happen if alignment is off? Are there strengthening and stretches that can get me ready for race season? Join us for our annual free Runner's Clinic on Saturday, February 13 from 8:00 to noon at TherapyWorks - 1311 Wakarusa Drive, Suite 1000. Therapists will video analyze your stride, and you can partake in stretch tables, chair massages, vendor booths, and refreshments! For more information call 749-1300 or visit our event page .
Penny Durr found a way to spend more time with her family including her daughter, Sienna. She began running with them. It brought them closer and strengthened their relationship.
"#whyirun" is a new digital video series produced & directed by Lawrence locals Andy White and Elliot Johnson. The stories showcase local runners and their reasons to run. Check out the full series at the official webpage: http://kansashalfmarathon.com/whyirun.
To deal with the stress of his father’s illness and death, Chris Lempa picked up running. It did more than he hoped for and he now runs to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
"#whyirun" is a new digital video series produced & directed by Lawrence locals Andy White and Elliot Johnson. The stories showcase local runners and their reasons to run. Check out the full series at the official webpage: http://kansashalfmarathon.com/whyirun.
With racing season quickly approaching, it is important for all runners and walkers to be prepared. To best prepare for the season, it is important to avoid injury as you eagerly begin signing up for races. Some excellent ways to avoid injury prior to hitting the pavement and trails is to be sure you are well hydrated and fueling your body with healthy food choices. Make sure to mix in a combination of stretching and strengthening into your training regimen with an emphasis on core strengthening exercises. Also, be sure to cross-train and find the right pair of running/walking shoes to help support your body.
For many years, running and walking shoes have been organized into four categories: stability, motion-control, neutral-cushioned, and performance training. When considering what shoe is the “right one” for you, ask yourself a few questions….. What is my body frame? Your body frame tells you how much cushion your shoe needs to have. Do you prefer to feel a lot of padding under your feet when you run? This would indicate you want a running shoe with maximum cushioning. Or, perhaps you prefer to feel very close and in-touch to the ground, experiencing the more natural feel of a barefoot or minimalist running shoe that has little to no cushioning. When deciding on how much support your shoe needs, consider your arch type and flexibility of your anatomical arch. These two factors go hand-in-hand. There are three basic categories to anatomical foot arches: high arch/low flexibility, moderate arch/moderate flexibility, and lastly, low arch/high flexibility. The wet test is a quick and easy way to determine your arch type by simply dipping your foot in water or wet paint and then placing your wet foot on a piece of cardboard or concrete. Look for the classic "footprint in the sand" footprint. The footprint will reveal a noticeable curve inward, but not by more than 3/4 of an inch at its greatest part. If you see this kind of silhouette, then you have normal feet. Otherwise, check to see if the entire foot shows. Your footprint may look like a foot-shaped blob. There will be almost no inward curve from your big toe to your heel; there may even be an outward curve. This means that you have flat feet. If your footprint looks like neither, of these, then see if your footprint might curve inward, making the middle of your foot appear very skinny. Your toes and heel will show, but there is little in between. If this is the case, you most likely have a high arch foot. Below are shoe recommendations for each foot type:
• Normal Feet - Stability shoes offer a good balance of cushion and medial support which limits excessive inward rolling of the foot, which can cause injury. To provide stability, they provide a firmer density under the inner edge of your foot.
• Flat Feet - Motion control shoes are the most rigid, control-oriented running shoes. They're designed to slow down or limit extreme inward rolling of the foot and ankle, which can cause injury. They tend to be a heavier shoe, but are very durable.
• High Arched Feet - Cushioned shoes generally have the softest mid-soles and provide the least amount of stability. They’re usually built semi-curved or curved which encourages motion of the foot. These shoes are helpful for runners with rigid, immobile feet.
It is important to consult with an expert to help you find the best shoe to provide your body the support it needs during running and walking activities. Ideally the expert you consult will perform a gait analysis or a running analysis to determine the correct shoe for your walking and running technique. Just like tires on a vehicle wear out, so do your running and walking shoes. So be sure to regularly check and replace shoes as needed. Be sure to consult with an expert at a local shoe store to find your perfect shoe.
If you are concerned that you have sustained an injury during your training, or prior to beginning your training, do not hesitate to stop by TherapyWorks at 1311 Wakarusa and take five minutes to consult with a physical therapist for a “Free Screen” to determine if you would benefit from physical therapy services to get you back in the race.
Written By: Audrey Welch, PT
The race season is almost upon us! For seasoned runners and newcomers alike now is the time to prepare for the 5K’s and beyond. With the ups and downs of Kansas weather you can almost smell spring in the air. In preparation for hitting the running trails we at TherapyWorks have put together a list of running injuries and how to prevent them. Most running injuries tend to occur when people are returning to running, just getting started, increasing their distance, or attempting to increase their speed. One of the most common injuries I see as a physical therapist is patellofemoral pain syndrome, commonly referred to as “runner’s knee”. With runner’s knee people will often have pain around their knee cap. In order to prevent such discomfort runners should assess their shoes for proper arch support and work to strengthen their glutes, hips, and quads. Rest time, icing, avoiding running downhill, and cross training are other ways to combat runner’s knee successfully. Almost everyone has heard of shin splints, that achy pain in the front of your shins that has sidelined many a runner, but what numerous people do not know is that your hip flexors might be at fault. As always shoe fit and proper support is important, along with cross training, rest, and ice, but strengthening your hip flexors is another good place to start your preparations for success. Hamstring pain can also plague runners. If you have pain in the muscle at the back of your thigh and the pain was sudden, strong, and leaves the area with bruising you should consider consulting a medical professional. Hamstring tears may require extended rest, sometimes for months, before the runner is able to safely return to running. Chronic overuse injuries, which are less severe, generally require running at a slow and easy pace. In order to prevent this discomfort from ever befalling you, consider adding hamstring stretching and strengthening to your routine. Next in the list of nagging injuries that can get between you and a good jog is IT band syndrome. Runners often get pain down the outside of their thighs from the hip to the knee if they suffer from weak hip musculature, namely abductors and gluts. Another concern is proper arch support to prevent over-pronation at the foot. Exercises to strengthen the gluts and abductors, also stretches for the IT band, can help to get you back on the trails or assure that you never have to leave them. Last, but certainly not the least, is plantar fasciitis. This a nasty pain that can show up in your heal during your first step of the morning or in your arch during your run. The plantar fascia covers the base of your foot from the heel to your toes and those without proper arch support, with tight calves, and/or with a weak core often fall prey to this nasty injury. Rolling a frozen water bottle under your feet, stretching your calves, wearing proper arch supports, and strengthening your core can all help to treat and prevent foot pain from getting in the way of your run. In summary strengthening of both your legs and core is very important. Stretching is nonnegotiable if your want to be able to run for many years to come. If pain is preventing you from lacing up your tennis shoes, though, feel free to call TherapyWorks to schedule a free screen so we can assess if physical therapy is just the thing to get you back in action.
----Sarah White-Hamilton, DPT of TherapyWorks 1311 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence, KS 66049 www.therapyworkskansas.com
Join us for our Free Seminar on February 18 at 7pm to hear more from one of our physical therapists and local physician and triathlete, Dr. Darin Elo.
Have your running gait video analyzed at our Runner's Clinic Saturday, February 28 from 9-noon and enjoy other health information booths, chair massages, snacks and more!
RunWalkLawrence is an official Jeff Galloway training program based in Lawrence and managed by J. Jenkins. “Galloway programs yield more results on less miles than other training programs; and the use of walk breaks and proper pacing reduces the risk of injury to virtually zero” said Jenkins. The training program consists of programs for beginning, intermediate, and advanced runners. This 18-week program builds from a 3-mile run/walk on Saturday, July 19th (8:00am at Garry Gribble's Running Sports, 839 Massachusetts), to a 14-mile training run two weeks before the race. Kansas Half Marathon registrants receive $10 off the program's entry fee. Visit www.RunWalkLawrence.com for more details.
The Kansas Half Marathon and 5K is the primary annual fund raiser for Health Care Access Clinic of Lawrence. Health Care Access serves low-income residents of Douglas County who are uninsured and have no other medical resources. Patients can receive primary care, medication assistance, mental health counseling, exercise and nutrition instruction and many other services at Health Care Access. Patients are asked for $10 per visit but no one is turned away for inability to pay. Volunteer providers in the community augment their full time staff of family nurse practitioners overseen by volunteer medical director and board member Karen Evans, DO.
Contact Elliot Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Health Care Access Clinic 330 Maine St. Lawrence, KS 66044 785-856-1672 Office
Join us for our popular Runner's Clinic on Saturday, April 12 anytime between 9:00 - noon.
- video gait analysis - physician consultation - orthotic information - free chair massages and - refreshments!
1311 Wakarusa Drive
@therapyworksks on Twitter
Join our free seminar about starting a running (or walking) program, and preventing & correcting possible injuries. Special guests: Dr. Luis Salazar, a local sports medicine physician, and our Physical Therapist, Audrey Welch.
Tuesday, March 25
@ TherapyWorks - 1311 Wakarusa Drive
For more information about this monthly Helping You Help Yourself seminar or future ones, call 749-1300 email nikkiwhite @ therapyworks.org or visit our Facebook event.
Also, save the date for our Runner's Clinic - April 12 from 9:00-noon!
Tara Gregg says that’s about the best way to describe the half-block of New Jersey Street in front of Van Go Inc., 715 N.J., on Saturday afternoon. Gregg was there, spraying the yellow.
“Some people were a little freaked out, but others wanted as much color as possible,” she said.
Gregg is an AmeriCorps volunteer at Van Go and signed up to be one of the color applicators in Color Zone 1 during Lawrence’s first Color Run, a 5K race started last year by a company in Colorado. What made this run different? The sprays of colored cornstarch and the boast that it’s “the happiest run in the world.”
Des Moines, Iowa, Cincinnati and Tuscaloosa, Ala., all had color runs Saturday, too. But before Lawrence’s race started, it was the best — at least in terms of participating. National organizer Chiara Fronce said that nearly 7,000 people had shown up by 3 p.m.
Amy Shannon came from Iola to participate, by way of Humboldt, where she’d already done one 5K earlier in the day. But that one didn’t involve a white, pigtailed wig and frilly tutu.
“We wanted to do this to dress up — we’re crazy like that,” she said.
Sam and Karen Sutton, of Topeka, were a little more excited about the running than the color. It was Sam’s first 5K and Karen’s attempt to get back into racing. They weren’t quite as colorful as some — at the color stations, most people had to stop running to get covered with the powdery spray.
“It seemed to be more about having fun, for most people,” Karen said. “But it was fun. And it got a lot of people out of the house and active.”
For the record, Gregg said, the powder didn’t hurt or aggravate her eyes. But she wasn’t running, she admitted. The only bummer to the vivacious, colorful party? It was just cold.
It should be a walk in the park, or perhaps a run.
Lawrence Trail Hawks will host 100-mile and 50-mile races as well as a marathon today and Sunday, at Clinton State Park, 798 N. 1415 Road. “Everyone’s going to read this and think we are crazy,” said race director Danny Miller. “But it’s fun. It gives people the chance to go out in nature and clear their head.”
The races will be run in a 25 mile-loop at Clinton Lake and there will be three way stations set up to provide aid and food to the runners. “We will have food going all the time. You can’t run something like this without going through a lot of calories,” Miller said. Miller added that most runners will walk at least 50 miles of the 100-mile race.
The top three finishers in each race will receive rewards; those finishing the 100-mile race in less than 24 hours will receive a belt buckle. Registration costs $70 for the marathon, $75 for the 50-mile race and $140 for the 100-mile race. Race participants will all receive a T-shirt to commemorate the event.
Miller said that the group is putting on this race, in part, to help Clinton Lake State Park and will donate part of the proceeds to the park. “We like to give back,” he said. “We also really like the trails.”
The marathon will begin at 7 a.m. today. The 50- and 100-mile races will begin at 6 a.m. today. “No matter what happens everyone that goes out there are going to have a good time,” Miller said.
For more information visit Lawrencetrailhawks.com.
There will be a free runner’s clinic from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at TherapyWorks, 1311 Wakarusa Drive, Suite 1000, and it's open to anyone.
The clinic will offer a running gait analysis, screens for those who feel that they might benefit from physical therapy treatment, chair massages and acceleration trials.
Dr. Lawrence Gaston, a podiatrist, will be available to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Brittany Taylor, marketing director for TherapyWorks, said the purpose of the clinic is to educate the public about their own personal running technique and what can be done to improve it.
There also will be door prizes, grab bags and refreshments.
For more information, call TherapyWorks at 749-1300.
A few years ago, a friend of mine started running half marathons. She’s inspired many of our friends to run, too, and many of them have also done half marathons.
But not me. Running never appealed to me. I told her something would have to be chasing me to get me to run.
However, nothing was chasing me when I competed in my first triathlon this month, and I still finished.
I got the idea on Christmas Day when my roommate’s father told me how he used to participate in the Topeka Tinman Triathlon. Suddenly, a light bulb went on — I thought, “I bet I could do that.” I looked it up after our conversation to find out the date of this year’s race and discovered I’d have plenty of time to train.
I had thought about doing a triathlon before, in passing — usually when I read one was coming up that weekend or happening that day. But I’d quickly forget about it.
This time, the thought stuck. I decided to do the Tinman short course race: a 400-meter swim, 13-mile bike ride and 5k run.
One motivator: my 30th birthday, which was this month. I figured finishing a triathlon would be a satisfying accomplishment for a milestone year. I also figured it would be a good way to get into exercising regularly — I hoped this would become a habit I could keep up after the race.
Why a triathlon? I love swimming and biking. As I said, though, I’ve never been a fan of running. I hadn’t even tried since middle school gym. Unfortunately, I don’t think swimming-biking-rollerblading triathlons exist. But I decided if almost everyone I know could be a runner, surely I could manage 3.1 miles.
I started looking into training programs and found a “couch to triathlon” schedule at BeginnerTriathlete.com, which seemed appropriate. It even starts you out just walking before trying to run. I started the program Jan. 2.
I didn’t tell a lot of people when I first started training. That’s probably not good for accountability, but the training was time-consuming, and the running was going terribly at first, so I was afraid to announce it and then quit later.
Some time on the treadmill helped me when I started to think the running just wasn’t going to happen. I had no idea how to pace myself, so I’d been running as fast as I thought I should and then would get winded after a block. With the treadmill determining my pace, I managed to run a whole mile, a victory for me.
I signed up for the triathlon in March. By April, I was tired. The training called for nine workouts per week; I usually skipped some, so I was doing six or seven 30- to 120-minute workouts per week.
At the beginning of May, I talked to someone who had done several triathlons. He gave me a lot of advice and helped me realize that the program I was on was not tailored to my race — I didn’t need to train so far beyond the distances I’d be racing. After that, I revised my workouts and only loosely followed the schedule.
As I was researching the week before my race, I read that someone in relatively good shape should be able to train for a triathlon in three months — about half as long as I did. No wonder I was so tired. But I probably needed the whole five and a half months to work on my running, since I’d never done it before.
Those many months of training were put to good use at my race, though. I finished, and with much faster times than I expected. Because I mostly trained solo, I think being around other people at the race gave me an even bigger boost than the usual racing surge.
I did walk some of the 5k. It was humid and getting hot. I was tired. I knew my first two legs went way faster than I’d expected. I gave myself a break. Somehow, I still finished faster than I would have imagined.
I felt good after the race — until about 30 minutes after I finished, when it suddenly hit me how worn out I was. I sat, ate a banana, replenished fluids and then felt good again.
If I continue in athletic endeavors, I’ll have to stick with triathlons. First of all, I have all the equipment now. And I’ll probably never be a great runner, so I need the swimming and biking legs to boost my overall results.
My guess is that I’ll do it again. Next time, I’ll try to run the whole last leg.
— Go! editor Katie Bean can be reached at 832-6361. Follow her at Twitter.com/LJW_Go.
During last year’s Kansas Half Marathon, a spectator mistakenly flipped a sign that threw about 500 runners off course. The incident caused an uproar in the community and its beneficiary Health Care Access listened.
This year, there is a new event coordinator and race director, and it already has 1,838 participants registered — 400 more than last year.
“We took all of the comments from last year’s event and applied them to this year,” said Kim Johnson, event coordinator. “We took the negative and turned it into a positive.”
The April 22 event includes a half marathon and 5K race, and one-mile children’s fun run. There will not be a 10K race this year. The event also will start and finish in downtown Lawrence at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. There will be about 200 volunteers helping with the event, including 70 course directors.
“Everyone is so energized for it this year. There’s a lot of positive energy flowing around it,” Johnson said.
This year’s race director is Troy Fitzgerald, of KC Running Company, and he puts on more than 100 running events in Kansas. “He’s seasoned and amazing,” Johnson said.
So far there are:
• 1,455 people — participating in the half marathon (13.1 miles). The route will go through the East Lawrence, Kansas University campus and to the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive and then back to the downtown area. It starts at 7:30 a.m. Cost is $55.
• 248 — in the 5K (3.1 miles). It winds through East Lawrence and starts at 7:45 a.m. Cost is $30.
• 135 — in the one-mile Kids Fun Run, which begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be in the downtown area. It is free and for children ages 12 and younger.
The awards ceremony will be at 10 a.m. and the after-race celebration will continue until about 11:30 a.m. There will be music, food, drinks and massages. The Lawrence Arts Center will be providing children’s activities.
Johnson said participants are coming from as far away as Florida and California, but many are from the neighboring states of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma. About 450 are from Lawrence.
To sign up or volunteer for the event, visit kansashalfmarathon.com. Registration forms also are available at the Lawrence Hy-Vee stores and Health Care Access, 330 Maine. For more information, call the clinic at 841-5760. The cost will go up $5 for the races on April 19.
“We want it to be a memorable and fun event for the runners, and we want it to succeed,” Johnson said.
It is the largest annual fundraiser for Health Care Access, a clinic that provides medical care for the uninsured of Douglas County. Last year’s event raised $27,000 — about 8 percent of the nonprofit’s annual budget. It serves about 3,000 patients.
Johnson said the clinic has expanded its services to include legal and mental services. It also has a wellness program that it extends to the general public. The program includes educational classes on topics such as depression and nutrition and an hour-long walking and stretching program that’s offered weekdays.
Among the participants is Juin Thomas, 63, who said it has helped her stay active and flexible since retiring from Hallmark Cards three years ago.
“I was used to running around and jumping and then all of sudden, I wasn’t doing as much and I was just getting stiffer and stiffer and stiffer,” Thomas said.
Then, she joined the walking group with a close friend who uses Health Care Access, and now is the most dedicated member, participating every day. She’s up to two miles and might participate in this year’s Kansas Half Marathon’s 5K race. The registration fee is being waived for the walking program’s participants.
“I might be able to make it that far,” she said, laughing. “Sounds like fun, but we’ll see.”
By Rebecca Lo
As people seek motivation on how to best achieve fitness goals and new year’s resolutions, one can gain inspiration from the efforts of children. Now in its sixth year, the Bobcat Marathon Club at Langston Hughes Elementary School continues to show the importance of staying active and the benefits for those who participate.
Following a $1,500 grant from LiveWell Lawrence, the Bobcat Marathon Club expanded in 2011. At the end of 2010, 101 children were enrolled in the marathon club. Seventy-six members actively participated, which meant each individual completed more than 10 miles throughout the year. The club’s momentum continued in fall 2011 with 232 participants, 194 of whom were active participants. Twenty-one of those students completed at least one marathon and one student completed the distance of two marathons.
Going the distance is just one of the benefits for a child enrolled in marathon club. In addition to the pride they feel from meeting the challenge to run or walk 26.2 miles, kids also benefit from:
- Having fun- Kids walk or run with their friends and socialize.
- Waking up- If you meet before school, the kids go to class energized from the fresh air and feel ready for the day.
- Developing sustainable exercise habits- Kids participate in a regular exercise routine that requires a commitment and persistence on their part.
- Setting and realizing long-term goals- Kids work for a long time and feel a very different sense of fulfillment than the instant gratification to which they’ve become accustomed.
- Accessing fitness- Kids who aren’t the most coordinated or the best athletes in the class learn that they can participate at their own pace. Kids that haven’t played organized sports can now “get out there” and feel good while doing it.
- Being outside- The time it takes to walk or run helps students overcome the “nature deficit disorder” that many sociologists discuss.
- Discovering themselves- Kids who had no idea or interest in running develop as runners and learning they have stamina, strides and the conditioning necessary to be a runner in the future.
- Community outreach- Clubs are a perfect avenue to host exchange runs with other schools, conduct food drives, recycle running shoes to be used for playground mulch and other activities that involve children in something bigger than themselves.
- Participation in a non-competitive, recreational activity- There are no winners or losers at marathon. It is not a race. Kids who keep working finish and they form a collective group that cheers for one another and enjoy seeing their friends meet the 26.2-mile challenge.
In addition to being active within the Marathon Club, the Langston Hughes students participated in the 2012 Red Shoe Calendar, which supports the Willow Domestic Violence Center. This year’s theme is, “Bullying is not accepted here.” The kids will be featured in the month of December wearing red shoes.
The Bobcat Marathon Club has helped launch approximately 13 marathon clubs at local schools including Sunset Hill, Sunflower, Pinckney and Deerfield. Corpus Christi brought its marathon club back with some enthusiastic parents and a Bobcat “Marathon in a Box” kit. Additional kits are expected to be sent out this year to start more clubs and expand the group’s efforts.
“With the help of LiveWell Lawrence, we've been able to financially cover the cost of the kits and we've been very successful at getting the word out about starting a marathon club,” said Carrie Mandigo, Bobcat Marathon Club committee co-chair. “This is truly an all volunteer-based program that wouldn't exist without the efforts of our parents.”
For grade school students who can’t participate in their schools’ marathon club, the HyVee One Mile at a Time Marathon Club is now available. The program, which kicked off in October, has students complete the miles on their own with their last 1.2 miles finished at the HyVee Lawrence Half Marathon in April.
Marathon clubs benefit our community by emphasizing the importance of physical fitness to children in a fun and challenging way. It’s important to support these efforts and model after the students’ success. The new year has only just begun; it’s never too late to get moving!
You can find more information about the HyVee or Bobcat marathon clubs or for info on starting one of your own here. Or contact Mandigo directly at email@example.com.
Topeka — Running has given Carrie Vincent a new outlook on life.
The 37-year-old is an inmate at Topeka Correctional Facility and is serving a life sentence for felony murder.
In June 2010, she joined the prison’s Running Free club after hearing about the benefits from her cell mate.
“It has helped with depression. It has definitely kept me focused on something positive,” she said.
The idea for Running Free started when runners Carol Hill and Suzanne MacDonald, who volunteered with different book clubs in the prison, met for lunch. They knew that running helped them physically and emotionally and wondered if it would do the same for the inmates.
“It felt like a crazy idea to us,” said Hill, of Topeka. “But we thought it would be cool if we could share that with women out here and create the same sort of feeling.”
They took the idea to prison officials, who weren’t as enthusiastic. Hill said there were tight restrictions on what inmates could do, and running wasn’t allowed, so it took a lot of convincing, but eventually they received the green light in the summer of 2007.
Then they were nervous about how many women might show up for the first run. What if no one was interested?
When about 75 women showed up, they were overwhelmed.
“A lot of them never even owned a pair of tennis shoes, so it was a big deal, and a lot of them had led very sedentary, kind of self-destructive lifestyles — a lot of drug addiction, a lot of just basic unhealthy existence. So we celebrated when they ran a half a lap,” Hill said.
The women trained to complete a 5K, or 3.1 mile, race for breast cancer research and programs. Twenty-five women participated and raised $2,000 through race registration fees. It was the first race held by Running Free, which is believed to be the country’s only all-women prison running club.
Hill said the beauty of the running program is that it’s a volunteer program and involves no tax dollars. The program receives gently used running shoes through community donations, and the inmates have to earn them.
“It’s really blossomed into something we never, ever dreamed it would,” Hill said.
Since that first race, members of Running Free have completed 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon races at the prison in southeast Topeka. They’ve held 17 races and raised more than $35,000 for charities, including the Battered Women’s Task Force, Kansas Specialty Dog Services and Helping Hands Humane Shelter.
Running Free has about 80 members, more than 10 percent of the prison population. Only 30 maximum-security inmates can participate in the program, and there’s a waiting list of about 100. They train on a small, beaten-up outdoor track that takes 16 loops to make a mile, and they are not allowed to talk to other inmates or rest; they have to keep moving.
“It’s a real coveted honor over there to participate in the program,” Hill said.
The minimum-security inmates train on a half-mile loop, and they can talk to each other. The inmates say they help lift one another up.
“It just makes you feel good to come out here and have a place to actually run, and it’s definitely a different environment than down on the compound,” Vincent said. "We know that we are all here for the right reasons."
On Sunday morning, at least 30 prisoners will be participating in a 5K or 10K race that will benefit the Northeast Kansas Parkinson Association’s support group. It’s a cause that running club members care deeply about, and that’s because fellow inmate Laura Kreisler, 55, who is serving time for embezzlement, has Parkinson’s, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that leads to shaking and difficulty with walking, movement and coordination.
Kreisler was diagnosed in 2001, but she said the symptoms started a few years before with tremors in her right hand, then right arm and leg. After the diagnosis, she said, she quit exercising and gained “a lot of weight.” In May 2010, she hit rock bottom when a prison nurse advised her to use a walker.
“I had some real health issues,” she said. “I didn’t do anything much but manage day to day.”
She decided she needed to turn her health around and started lifting weights and walking, and then the pounds started coming off and she eliminated the need for blood-pressure medicine. She remembers running her first lap around the gym. She knew 20 laps would equal a mile and she wanted to be able to run 10 laps before heading outside with the other inmates.
Since then, she has lost 125 pounds and has participated in several 5K races. She is looking forward to doing her first 10K race Sunday.
“I can’t even describe the difference in how I am and how I was,” she said. “The running has really improved me immensely. It’s almost unbelievable how much better I feel.”
The registration fee is $23 for Sunday’s race, and she earns $1.05 a day in the prison by working as a chaplain’s clerk. She said it’s well worth it.
“Everybody tells me how remarkable I am, but the truth is that there are a lot of remarkable people here. They just need to believe in themselves,” she said.
SUPPORT THE CAUSE
The inmate running group called Running Free at Topeka Correctional Facility is having a 5K and 10K race Sunday to benefit the Northeast Kansas Parkinson Association’s support group. The event is being held in recognition of Laura Kreisler, an inmate who has Parkinson’s disease.
If anyone would like to make a donation to the Parkinson’s support group, visit www.nekpa.com or make a donation to: NE Kansas Parkinson Association, P.O. Box 251, Topeka, KS 66601.
Also, the running group could use donations of gently used athletic shoes. Shoes can be dropped off at Garry Gribble’s Running Sports stores, including the one in Lawrence at 839 Mass.
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome affects between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 30,000 people.
By those statistics, somewhere between three and eight people in Lawrence are currently living with the syndrome.
But just one Lawrence resident will be running in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 as part of 20-member Team CdLS. Jonathan Larance, public information officer at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and a Lawrence resident for the past eight years, will be running in his second marathon ever in support of his cousin, Emma Thompson, of The Woodlands, Texas.
"She's a gift from God and a shining star to everyone she meets," Larance said.
Emma, 13, was born with CdLS. She and Larance have always been close. He'd been looking to run another marathon — his first was several years ago — and when this opportunity came up, after the regular registration had already closed, he knew the opportunity was right.
But in order to be a part of Team CdLS, he had to commit to fundraising. His 20-member team has a goal of raising $70,000 for outreach, research and support for the battle against CdLS. His individual goal is $2,000 (and donations can be made online). With just a few weeks until the race, he's approaching the goal with just online donations and he said he's expecting a check from his brother's school, as well.
"They had a dress-down day, where everyone paid to wear casual clothes," he explained.
Larance has been training all summer for the marathon. Even in the hottest days of July and August, he was running 15 or more miles to prepare. He said he uses the song Tik Tok, by Ke$ha, to keep him going through the hottest days of summer. It'll be the song he uses to power himself to the finish line as well.
And Emma will be waiting for him there, cheering him on. His parents, brothers and other friends and family also plan to be in Chicago to cheer him on when he finishes.
Lawrence has received a number of designations: “Best Small Art Town,” “Bicycle Friendly Community,” “Tree City USA” and “Best College Town.”
Now, it can add “Runner Friendly Community” to its list.
It recently received the recognition from the oldest and largest distance running organization in the nation, Road Runners Club of America.
This is the first year for the designation; so far, only 14 cities have made the cut, including Carson City, Nev.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Missoula, Mont. The closest to Lawrence are Dallas and Decatur, Ill. The designees are now in the running to be named “Outstanding Runner Friendly Community.”
To receive the five-year designation, cities need to meet criteria in three areas:
• Community infrastructure.
• Community support.
• Local government support.
William Dyson, program coordinator of Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), said the goal is to shine a national spotlight on communities that stand out as runner friendly. He said these communities improve the quality of life, increase physical activity for residents and even boost the local economy by attracting runners and running events to town.
Lawrence has 35 miles of multi-use recreational paths and trails for runners that are not available to motorized vehicles, and the city works to keep them trash-free, cleared of snow in the winter, and safe.
RRCA also noted that Lawrence has:
• Red Dog's Dog Days, a free community fitness program that includes running.
• Running clubs at most of its middle and elementary schools.
• An RRCA-affiliated club called RunLawrence.
• A number of running events throughout the year that help raise funds for various causes.
City Commissioner Mike Amyx was among those who helped submit the application in the spring.
“We have a great community that takes great pride in going out and exercising, and running is part of it,” he said.
Amyx doesn’t plan to take up running anytime soon — “not with my old bones,” he said with a chuckle. “I was never much of a runner, but I’m glad to see a lot of people that do.”
The idea came to him simply enough after watching a particularly inspiring few minutes of TV.
Sitting on his couch at home, Everett Ledbetter was taken aback by how formerly obese and sickly contestants on NBC’s hit weight-loss show, “The Biggest Loser,” were able to finish a 26.2-mile marathon just months after stepping into a gym.
“I’m not built to run, and I’m not really a runner,” Ledbetter says. “But I saw this on ‘Biggest Loser’ back in December, these people running a full marathon, and I said, ‘I think I could do a half.’ And I said, ‘Run, walk or crawl, I think I could finish a half.’”
Now, he hopes to use that seed of an idea to inspire so much more.
Ledbetter is planning what he is billing as The Half-Marathon for the Master. The May 22 race will be free and open to anyone who wants to run, from folks fresh off this weekend’s Kansas Marathon to people who just hope to walk a portion of the race, which will be done in four laps around the property of Ledbetter’s Blessed Hope Baptist Church, 1115 N. 1700 Road.
For more on the marathon, click here.