"Without support and funding from Harvest, we would be unable to develop, promote and sustain initiatives to address health issues and work toward a healthier future for Martinsville and Henry County. "
- Barbara Jackman, Executive Director - MHC Coalition for Health and Wellness
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Runners training with YMCA

February 15, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Renay Hairston has big plans for her next birthday.

The 52-year-old hasn’t been a lifelong runner, but with the help of a training program at the Martinsville YMCA, she plans do a 5-kilometer run on March 24 — the day after her 53rd birthday.

“I’ve always wanted to learn” how to properly run without hurting herself and how to complete a race, Hairston said. She decided to do just that by taking part in a training program for the Martinsville Half-Marathon and 5K.

About 30 people are training for the half-marathon, a 13.1-mile run, and about 30 more are training for the 5K, which is about 3.1 miles, according to Rebecca Adcock, YMCA wellness director.

All of the runners meet on Tuesdays to run pre-arranged distances. They are expected to run on their own on Thursdays and Saturdays, Adcock said.

On the days when they aren’t running, participants do cross-training. That includes working out in the gym, participating in a yoga or Zumba class or walking for about an hour, Hairston said.

Being involved in the training program has given Hairston something different to do after work. Before, she used to go home and “hit the sofa,” she said.

Among the things she has learned to help her complete the distance are to breathe in through her nose and out through her mouth, to keep her shoulders relaxed and to stand up straight while running, she said.

The training also has inspired Hairston to keep going, especially with the support she gets from the other runners, including her training partner, Cindy Summit. Hairston said it is easier to keep going as she gets in better and better shape.

During the Tuesday trainings, those preparing for the half-marathon run three miles, and the 5K runners do a 15- to 20-minute run.

The half-marathon runners are expected to add miles to each of their Saturday runs, Adcock said, adding that the runners, who have been training for five weeks, are up to eight-mile runs now.

Robert Lackey, another participant, has never run a 5K before. He chose to do the training to “be healthier and lose weight,” part of his New Year’s resolution to live a healthier lifestyle, he said.

Sticking with the resolution has been “easier than I thought it would be” because his wife prepares healthy foods, and he has two dogs that need to be run, Lackey said.

The training program at the YMCA also has taught him how to maintain a healthy lifestyle because it teaches stretching, nutrition, hydration and ideas for healthy snacks, he said.

Other participants are not new to running. One of them, Janine Jacob, will be taking part in her third half-marathon.

Jacob was on the planning committee for last year’s run in Martinsville, and this year she chose to take part in the run, she said.

She is looking forward to the event because her last two half-marathons were in Virginia Beach, during the summer and on flat terrain. The run in Martinsville will be in cooler weather and on hilly terrain, which is more challenging, Jacob said.

Marie Ferguson ran a 5K in October, but March will be the first time she runs a half-marathon. Before October, “I had never in my life” run that much, Ferguson said.

Jacob said she promised Ferguson that if she would run in the half-marathon, Jacob would as well. Having a support group helps when running, Jacob added.

According to Adcock, enrollment for both races is up this year. Last year, during the YMCA’s first-annual half-marathon and 5K, about 200 people participated in the 5K and about 235 ran in the half-marathon.

A new element this year to bring in new participants is the corporate incentive. If a company’s employees participate, they will receive 13.1 points for each employee who runs in the half-marathon and 3.1 points for those running in the 5K, Adcock said.

After the race, the points will be added up and there will be awards granted to the company in each division (small, medium and large company) with the most points, she added.




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