This is just one of the many emails we received from from the fantastic MedImmune and Montgomery College employees we coached, many of whom ran their very first 5K on Memorial Day at Jeremy's Run and had never run consistently for more than a short distance.
The employees at MedImmune and Montgomery College started their journey with us when we began our training program in March, consisting of weekly workplace group runs, coaching support, regular follow up with the individual participants and customized comprehensive training calendars to meet each participant's running level. On day one, many of the beginner runner participants showed up with old sneakers and trepidation, as the thought of running a 5K race by May seemed impossible. After a quick pep talk and a push, the runners were off. The beginner runners alternated running and walking for 30 minutes, and as we expected, finished the initial workout with smiles and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. They realized that showing up is half the battle, and running is not so bad in good company. We concluded that first session by assigning the participants running homework: simply follow the training calendar we provided, including some cross- and strength training, and, of course, to purchase new running shoes.
Week after week, rain (even a little snow!) or shine, our runners took time out of their hectic workdays to meet us for a lunchtime run and those who committed to the schedule saw their running improve rapidly. Even those who didn't commit to the schedule regularly were encouraged and inspired by their co-workers to keep moving at their own pace, and we assisted them with modified schedules. The employees bonded, the running improved, and within a few short weeks, the participants were logging miles instead of run/walk intervals, and suddenly, the completion of a 5K in May did not seem as daunting to our beginner runners.
Race day for Jeremy's Run in Olney was much hotter than the conditions under which our runners trained, but they were not discouraged, as we had gone over race day preparation with them and they had all run the distance before race day. They were ready and eager, if not a bit nervous, to strut their stuff! The gun went off, and our runners began the culmination of their 10-week journey. As we traversed the course in an effort to run with all of our runners, we couldn't help but notice lots of smiles, coupled with satisfied exhaustion as each runner worked to push up the last hill toward the finish.
As each runner crossed the finish line on Monday, they were greeted by the deafening cheers and hugs of their colleagues as well as families and friends who came out to support the group's runners, and we were greeted with expressions of disbelief as they recognized that they had just sported a race bib and crossed a finish line. Even better, we overheard a few excited discussions about setting new running goals and participating in future races. Many runners will continue to run together at work, maintaining the habits and schedule they became accustom to over the past several months. The day after Jeremy's Run, several signed up for our 5-miler program so that they can continue the progress they've made. We love hearing how so many have caught the "running bug" and how it's helped their health, both physical and mental, as well as created lasting camaraderie in the workplace.