Thursday, March 26, 2009

The 2009 Reebok SunTrust National Half Marathon Training Program was a great success.

You might know that I am in charge of training programs for the DC Road Runners, a duty I am about to turn over to fellow Board Member Kenny Ames when I assume the club presidency next month. There are exciting training prospects in store for the club during the upcoming year.

With the running of the fourth SunTrust National Marathon and Half Marathon last weekend, the race's second Reebok Training Program, "powered" by DCRRC, came to a successful conclusion (hopefully not for good--Reebok is having some issues in this economy like everyone else). Outgoing club club president Ed Grant was in charge of the Program and directed the Marathon part of it while I directed the Half-Marathon side. Both were well-run programs, if I do say so. (Right: Samia Akbar, last year's winner of the SunTrust National Half Marathon, addresses the Reebok Training Group on the first day way back in November.)

Including volunteer coaches, during the Program at least 63 Program participants came to at least one meeting of the half marathon group at Gotta Run, the normal meeting place for my part of the program. After 19 weeks of rigorous training stretching back to before Thanksgiving, with runs that ranged from the 6-mile opening day lumber up the C&O Canal Towpath to a couple of runs of about 14 miles on the Mall near the end, at least 38 Program participants ran in the SunTrust National Half Marathon on Saturday, March 21, 2009, with times ranging from 1:22:58 to just over two and a half hours.

Additionally, one HM Program participant ran the Full Marathon. Two participants served as race staff during the race. At least two more participants spent the morning cheering on the runners. Another participant ran a half marathon in Virginia Beach that weekend while another participant ran a half marathon in California. Yet another participant ran a club Marathon and took third in her age group. Another participant ran a 10-mile race instead while one more did a Marathon Relay. (Left: The very first track workout. Jon, the third runner from the right, ran a sub-1:40 half marathon five months later.)

In addition to the Program member who finished the half marathon in under 1:25 (coach Matt), two trainees finished in under 1:40. Yet another trainee finished in under 1:45 while four more finished in under 1:55, which is a sub-9:00 M/M pace. Two more trainees finished in under two hours. One coach (the beloved Ellen, her trainees love her), who was a trainee last year, took over 11 minutes off her PR.

The Program offered the normal Saturday group long runs, held at two different locations, one in Arlington and another one in the District directed by coach Sasha, and also offered regular Monday night runs of 6.5 miles on the Mall, regular Tuesday night runs of 4 mile runs on the Georgetown waterfront, track workouts every Wednesday evening in Arlington plus a weekly morning track workout in the District. Speakers came to lecture the runners before runs at least three times. There were two social get-togethers set up by coach Rachel, as well as a pre-race dinner in both Arlington and the District. Participants formed relay teams for a club Marathon one week and the schedule incorporated two other club races, a 10-miler and a 20K race. Several coaches regularly met with participants on informal runs such as other club races or various fun runs around town. (Right: The first Monday Night Footmall run. Jay, the second runner from the left, threw down a 1:40 half marathon four months later.)

The Reebok SunTrust National Half-Marathon Training Program’s success was directly attributable to the dedication of its outstanding staff of volunteer DCRRC coaches. In addition to those already mentioned, they were John, Lauren, Emily, Bob and Jeannie. At least seven of the coaches have RRCA coaching certificates. One is a certified Fitness Bootcamp Trainer. Several coaches came from the ranks of trainees in prior Programs. Invaluable assistance was received from Full Marathon coaches Kenny, Ed, Andrew, Katie, Eric Phillips (the current director of DCFit Marathon training) and Ben.

(Left: Coach Ellen (looking at her watch) leads her group out on a Saturday morning run. Ricardo, the runner on the left, ran a sub-2-hour half marathon four months later.) Thanks to all, and especially to Reebok (Keith), the Greater Washington Sports Alliance (Britton), Fleet Feet (Shawn), the Georgetown Running Company (Max) and Gotta Run (Andre).

The club's 10K Group Training Program is currently in its fifth week, and the club's training program for the Army 10-Miler starts this summer.


Petraruns said...

Wow - that's such an extensive and impressive program. Really admirable. I feel like I'm missing out, stuck in the countryside..

jeanne said...

Well done!! that's gotta be some kind of record!

David said...

Congratulations Mr. President. When is the inauguration?

Black Knight said...

Congratulations for the impressive program. If one day you will come here it would be nice to follow you for some workouts. We need fearless leaders.

Just_because_today said...

that' some kind of training program and enthusiastic group of people! We dont have anything that comes even close to what you have. Like Petra, I'm stuck it the countryside

Dori said...

Congratulations on your new position! I can't think of anyone more suited for the job.