Runners try to reach the ‘Summit’

Amy Boldt
Summit Running Club participants put in another day of hard work. Tara Bowling gets her miles in on the track.

With summer in full swing, it brings along with it the season of road races like the Bix 7 and the Quad City Marathon. And to get local runners to take on these feats, Hammond-Henry Hospital is offering The Summit Running Club.

“We talked about branching out into the adult population and this just felt like a natural progression,” said sports medicine program manager Eric Allen.

The club is designed to give runners the opportunity to improve their running skills and  especially pays attention to injury prevention.

Runners meet at the Geneseo Foundation Activity Center every Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Runners training for the Bix 7 have been meeting since May 20 and the program runs for 10 weeks up until the Bix 7 run. Runners training for the Quad City Marathon have been meeting since June 3 and the program runs for 18 weeks up  until the marathon.

“I anticipated serious and dedicated runners, but we got some people who wanted to start running,” said Allen. “We have people of all levels, we have outstanding athletes and people who just want to do it for fitness.”

Right now the club has 20 people enrolled, but are approaching 25.

“Everyone seems to be having a fun time,” said Allen. “And everyone has enjoyed being able to modify their workouts.”

The services offered through participation in the club are group speed workouts, individualized work out plans, training tips, advice on nutrition for endurance, running evaluation and injury screening, treatment and prevention.

The first night of the club, the staff finds out each runner’s abilities and then the runners receive individual programs tailored to their ability.

Every Tuesday the runners meet at the facility and warm up together, work on core stabilization and then participants break up into their workouts, said Allen. Some runners hit the road and run two to six miles, while others stay and run on the track.

The age of the participants ranges from 20 to 50 plus with a wide range of abilities. And with a wide range of runners each individual has their own set of goals.

“My goal for them is to help them achieve their goals and do it injury free,” said Allen.

For a runner to take on the challenge of competing in one of these races it takes time, effort and patience.

“Runners have the tendency to overdue and they need a day off,” said Allen. “I try to get as few miles on their legs as I can and then the less likely they are to have injuries.

“A lot of work is done on their own with two to three days preferred for running and the other days can be for crosstraining. I encourage runners to incorporate recovery days because they tend to overdue it. I tell them (runners) to seek out other resources that will help them and I also tell them not to run through an injury.”

One thing Allen has noticed is there are a lot of runners in the Geneseo community.

“Running can be a social thing, it brings people together, they share ideas and hopefully they get better,” said Allen. “And it does help to have coaching.”

The Summit staff gives the participants access to some real expertise. Allen has background in running, Greg Janicki has a background in track, John Davis has the strength and conditioning and the runners also receive dietary information from Marcia Wirth. With all of these resources it will help the participants improve their running.

Allen stated that some of the runners have already started to see changes.

“I had one man tell me that he has no aches or pain in his body right now,” said Allen. “He’s had injuries before and he is injury free right now and that really shows that he is progressing. It is definitely a progression.”

The club is still welcoming runners to come out and run with the participants, but Allen states he would have to see what the individual runner’s goals are to determine if he could start them on a regiment.

For more information on the Summit Running Club, contact Julie Theill at 944-9150.

Roger Cherry, left, and Jim Rusk, right, keep pace during their workout.