Even though you almost always see a quip about the OTHER AREC groups, I just thought to include a little something about this year’s crop of Marathon (and Half Marathon) trainees.
Perhaps you are not familiar with A Running Experience Club’s marathon training history. Well, let me enlighten you.
It all began when AREC began a partnership with the Long Beach (ICB) Marathon. In exchange for marathon volunteers, AREC would become the “Official Long Beach Marathon” training group and we would be promoted on the Marathon website.
The first year, we were unsure about what exactly we wanted to do. The plan was just to formulate a plan for whoever indicated they had an interest. Various people volunteered to help out with occasional training runs on the actual course.
I received an e-mail from one Liz Caporelli, who said she was interested in training for the Half Marathon. I directed her to our kick-off event – the H.B. Distance Derby (see Todd Rose for a discounted entry form). I ended up helping her train for the Half Marathon by running with her on Wednesdays and various longer runs, and paced her a bit in the half, where she reached her goal of sub-2 hours!
In the second year, we decided to plan a bit better. Dennis Murphy and Liz Caporelli formulated an ACTUAL schedule (similar to what we have now) and started the runs from Dennis’s (and my) condo complex. Just as the training got underway, Liz got a job in Massachusetts and Dennis got injured, so Todd took over a lot of the responsibility.
We had a good showing the first few weeks, but as time went on, we had just a core group of 6 (who ran pretty comparable speeds and scared off the slower people). They all finished between 4:07 and 5:06 – a pretty impressive group!
With little exception, however, this group pretty much did their Saturday runs, but we wouldn’t see them other days of the week, AND after the marathon was finished, they all but disappeared from the club’s radar.
By the beginning of 2005, we wondered what to expect from this year’s group. Long Beach Marathon decided to have their own training group (3 times as expensive as AREC membership even after subtracting out the race entry!), but would continue to list AREC as a group that trained for the marathon.
Our major concern was that there wouldn’t be anyone interested in training, but we decided to see what the interest was anyway.
As with last year’s training, a good-sized group showed up the first few weeks, but to our surprise, they have continued to come out. The people training for the half marathon know what distance they want to run, the old marathon hands (like Josh Brakefield, Rich & Colleen, Win, Steve Schatz, Steve Secker, Todd Rose, and myself) hook up with different runners and keep them relaxed, while others help out with water and support (Deb Cardinale, Todd Rose, and Bernard Dean Mills).
We also get to see these people on Wednesdays (they can get in their run AND enjoy the social aspect of the club).
The most rewarding part is watching the group tackle various goals and succeed with flying colors. People who could barely run 3 miles, complete 8 with relative ease. On Saturday, the run was 14 miles. This was the furthest many had ever run. I ran with Brian McKeever (his furthest run) and it was only a couple minutes slower than his fastest half marathon (he’d only done a couple) and this was almost a mile further!
I snapped a photo of the group (sorry to the folks that were in San Francisco). Hopefully, you will all recognize a few faces and help motivate them to an exciting finish on October 16th!