Freeze column: Lots of opportunities to learn to run

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just a dozen times or more in the last few days, various people have said nice things about my passion. Most of them were about my passion to exercise, and specifically to run. A long time ago, without a mentor, I decided to see about this running thing. I read a huge book, followed by another one, both by Jim Fixx as the craze was sweeping the nation.
None of my friends had any interest in running, and a few of them thought that exercising by doing anything other than work was a ridiculous mistake. Well that was 32 years ago and almost 66,000 miles later on these skinny legs.
Along the way, I have ran races in several countries, qualified for Boston numerous times, and won a few masterís state championships. Masters means that the recipient is at least 40 years of age. My own best competitions came during my early to mid-40s. About that time, I realized what my real joy is. Teaching others to experience even a portion of the same good health and fitness is what provides the real joy for me.
Eight years ago, I went to Houston, Texas, for a national running convention and took a seminar on how to get others started in exercise and eventually running. One of my longtime friends told me the other day that he reads everything I write, except most of the stuff about running. He is one person who I havenít yet reached.
After that convention in Houston, I came back to propose to the Salisbury Rowan Runners that we start a series based on some of the ideas of the seminar. We did our first fall seminar, held it in conjunction with Salisbury Parks and Rec, and had a turnout of 10 people. Most of them finished an eight-week class, and ran their first race of 3.1 miles.
Today, things are a little different. We still teach running, but we are much more polished about it. Our instructors are all professionals in the area they speak on. We donít wonder if the program will work, because now we know it can. So now it is time to let everyone know what is available for our fall classes. For some reason, fall classes are slightly more popular than the springtime version.
This fall, we have two options and three classes. First is the regular class held at the Civic Center on Thursday nights at 6 p.m. It starts on Sept. 8. Steve Clark with Parks and Rec is the contact for this training class. The other two are being held at Rowan Regional Medical Center, and they both start on next Monday. Both are in the meeting room, just off the main lobby. The first starts at 9 a.m. and the second starts at 5:15 p.m. I will be the contact for this one. The two meetings are aimed at the hospital staff, but others are welcome.
Both classes cost $55 for eight weeks. Runners will get the same eight-week sessions of classes and running instruction. Both groups will get individual coaching from members of the Salisbury Rowan Runners. The group at the Civic Center will receive free entry in the Santa Run for Charity 5K on Dec. 3, membership in the Salisbury Rowan Runners and the club cotton T-shirt. The two classes at Rowan Regional focus on the CommYounity 5K being held on Nov. 5. Participants there get an ěIím in Trainingî shirt dri-fit shirt.
New for this fall is the fact that if someone has to miss one class, they can make it up at another time. All will be running on the same schedule. Just ask your instructor.
A final option for the fall is individual instruction on a more specific basis. Some want to run, but they would rather do it in a private setting. Others might want to improve on a 5K time, train for a marathon, or anything in between. Maybe they need to get restarted with exercise, and just need a written plan and online coaching. All of this can be found at Ulearn2run.
I hope you come out and join us in one of these programs. It is going to be a great fall. It is the perfect time to work on your health and fitness. Salisbury Parks and Rec, Rowan Regional Medical Center and the Salisbury Rowan Runners are waiting to help. For more information, go to or call 704-310-6741.