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Running start: time to get ready for Azalea Festival runs

Runners set their watches prior to the start of the 2011 Azalea Fun Run. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
 

The Azalea Festival’s annual 10K run has been scheduled for Sunday, May 27, and race organizer Brittney Jenkins has added a half marathon and a 1-mile Kids Dash to appeal to an even wider range of runners and walkers.

“This event is for people of all age groups and fitness levels,” Jenkins said. “I want to encourage community and activity, no matter what.”

Jenkins took over the event in 2011 when it only offered the 10K distance and had 76 people sign up and participate.

 

 The ages ranged from a 69-year old who used the run to help train for the Portland Marathon to an 11-year old who was just running for fun.

The event will begin and end on the high school track this year because the organizers will be timing each of the runners.

“It will be timed because I want to have something for the competitive runners, or people who are just trying to keep track of their times,” Jenkins said. “But it is open to everyone.”

There will be medals awarded at the end of the run and there will be water, food and snacks – including doughnuts – for all of the runners, according to Jenkins.

“The only reason to run events like this is to be able to eat doughnuts at the end without any feelings of guilt whatsoever,” she added with a laugh.

Registration is $30 for the 10K, or $50 for the half marathon and can be done online at the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce website, http://www.brookingsharborchamber.com.

Cost for Brookings-Harbor High School students is just $10 and the 1-Mile Kids Dash is free.

Forms can also be picked up at the Curry Coastal Pilot, the Chamber offices in Harbor, Fitness at the Club on Benham Lane and South Coast Fitness in the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center.

Completed forms should be mailed to the Chamber at PO Box 940, Brookings, OR 97415.

The deadline for registration is May 6, with an additional $10 fee being added after that date.

T-shirts are included in the fee for the 10K and the half marathon, but the Kids Dash does not include a T-shirt.

According to Jenkins the shirts will be designed by BHHS teacher Joe Morin and will likely be long-sleeved, have the festival logo on the front and have the distance run found either on the back or the sleeve.

“They’ll probably be cotton again,” she said. “I’d like to have them be Dri-fit, but they cost more and sponsors have to see that the event is going to keep building before they’ll spend more money.”

Training to run

With the run happening in a little over 12 weeks, Jenkins is hanging posters and handing out flyers to allow people to get ready in time for the event.

Many runners who train for a half marathon will want to begin training at least 12 weeks before the run happens, Jenkins explained. 

She added that there are a number of helps on the web and applications on smart phones that will take someone from the couch to running in no time.

“There are all different types of ‘couch to 5K programs’ available on the Internet,” Jenkins said. “There is an app for smart phones called Runner’s World Smart Coach that you basically put your information in and it will literally design a running program for you.”

A Google search of the phrase “couch to 5K” yielded more than seven million results in .18 seconds.

Any program that gets people up and active is a good one, according to Jenkins, but she cautions that people who want to start training should consult their physician to make sure they are healthy enough to begin training.

Another caution she has for those interested in training for the event is not to try to do too much when beginning. 

“Generally you don’t want to increase your distance by more than 10 percent each week,” she said. “You’ve also got to listen to your body. If you’re overly sore, you did way too much. If you’re not sore enough, you probably could have pushed yourself a little harder.”

 

Clothing choices for 

training

“You don’t want to be overdressed or underdressed,” Jenkins said. “If you’re too hot, your body works too hard to try and cool itself. If you’re too cold, your body is working too hard to warm itself.”

Clothing is an important choice when beginning a running program and, according to Jenkins, the lighter and smoother the fabric is, the better.

“There is nothing more irritating when you’re working out and all you can focus on is how bad your clothes fit,” she said. “It’s just wasted emotional energy. A lot of times when people are first starting to work out they don’t have a lot of emotional energy to put into it anyway, so if half of it is spent on being irritated, you’re defeated before you even start.”

Shoes are also an important part of a good running program, Jenkins said. It is important to take the time to try on shoes until you find a brand and size that fit best and then order replacements via the Web to cut down on the number of times needed to travel.

“Your shoes depend on your frame, weight and the type of running you want to do,” she explained. “You’ve got to take the time to find the right pair of shoes.”

 

Healthy living

In addition to being well-dressed and well-shod, making sure your body is receiving proper nutrition for a running program is essential.

“In order to get optimal results from training, it is imperative for athletes of all ages to balance their diets properly to meet the demands of training,” Master Runner of the Year Jerry Macari said. “Most of us have some basic knowledge of healthy eating; however, the nutrient requirements change dramatically for athletes.”

Jenkins agrees.

“If you have a heavy diet it is going to be hard to feel light on your feet,” she said. “For these distances; some water, a good healthy diet with and some carbs and you’ll be good.”

 

Supporting roles

“This April will mark the 1-year anniversary that my husband Charlie and I created a running group called Brookings Road Runners,” Jenkins explained. “We use meetup.com to list all of the times and places where we run.”

The group currently meets every Saturday morning, but is considering moving to the afternoons because, according to Jenkins, “8 a.m. is kind of early for some people.”

The group is made up of runners of different strengths and each person is able to set their own pace.

According to Jenkins, runs are usually planned for 5 miles but because they are “out-and-back” runs anyone can turn around at any point to make it a shorter run.

“When people are first starting with running, it is easy to be discouraged,” Jenkins explained. “It is important to remember that everyone is out there for their own purpose, you just have to come out.

“You have to get up out of bed, come out and set out to accomplish whatever purpose you’ve set for that day.”

Jenkins has been a runner for more than eight years with breaks in her training program to have two children and start her own business, Modéle Salon in Brookings.

She began running in the Azalea Festival fun runs when she and her husband lived in Portland.

“My friends from high school would talk about running it, and when I got into running, I thought it would be fun to do,” she explained. “When I first started, I could barely run half a mile. I couldn’t make it two laps around the track.

“It is progressive, something you build up to. People aren’t just runners or not runners; you can become a runner.”

After moving to Brookings she showed up to participate in the fun run and no one was there.

“There wasn’t any online presence then,” she explained, “and when I showed up no one was around.”

The organizers had something come up that year and hadn’t planned a run. Jenkins got in touch with the Chamber president, Les Cohen who put her in touch with the organizer.

“For whatever reason the woman who had been organizing it hadn’t been able to do it, so I contacted her to see if I could help out,” she explained. “It turned out that she didn’t have the desire to do it, she had just been doing it because it needed to be done, so I took it over.”

Jenkins admonishes business owners in town to be proactive, in supporting their employees desire to run in the event.

“Sponsor your employees,” she said. “No better way to get employees active than to pay their entry fees, and active employees are productive employees.”

Anyone interested in running or volunteering for the running events is encouraged to contact Jenkins by phone at 503-467-8644 or email, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

The Kids Dash will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, followed by the start of the half marathon at 9:15 a.m. The 10K will start at 10 a.m. 

“We staggered the start times to avoid bunching up at the start line,” Jenkins explained. “It will also have most of the participants finishing close to the same time.”

Taking on the event is a huge commitment on Jenkins part and she is looking for volunteers to help with the start/finish line and to man the water stations throughout the runs.

“I’m looking for an extreme amount of volunteers,” she said. “So having people who want to help would be excellent.”

 

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