Friday, February 17, 2017


"Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River."

Take Me Home, Country Roads--John Denver

Morgantown, West Virginia is a magical place. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountain range, along the Monongahela River, the city of about 31,000 residents swells from August to May with the arrival of students from around the world who attend the famed West Virginia University.

Football and basketball dominate the West Virginia University scene. In fact, the University's basketball arena bears the name of perhaps it's most famous alumnus, NBA legend, Jerry West.

Since 2015, however, this small, friendly city, with a big-city atmosphere has become known for another athletic endeavor, and people are beginning to take notice.

On September 23, the third annual Morgantown Marathon will be contested.

Morgantown is a city of rolling hills, so if you're looking for a pancake-flat marathon, this race is not for you. But the Morgantown Marathon is a unique, runner-oriented race that will both challenge and motivate you, as you run through all seven wards of the city, past festivals, bands, and enthusiastic spectators.

For many runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a major goal. If you hail from a region where the geography is flat, the hilly Boston Marathon course can be devastating. Running a race like the Morgantown Marathon is excellent preparation for a course like Boston.

Temperatures in the 50s and 60s during September, along with plenty of shade, are both beneficial to marathon runners, and are featured at the Morgantown Marathon.

If you're looking for a challenging marathon course, a race that is well-organized with many amenities, cheering neighborhood crowds, and breathtaking scenery, you owe it to yourself to place the Morgantown Marathon on your running bucket list.

And if you're not quite ready to tackle the marathon, consider the 'Morgantown Thirteener' Half Marathon.

The out and back course will take you through the city's neighborhoods, keeping you motivated with festivals, bands, and cheering spectators.

Or, you can run the Mountain Mama 8K race. This event begins at the WVU Coliseum, courses through city neighborhoods, and back to the coliseum. The race will kick off the 3rd Annual Morgantown Marathon weekend experience.

For additional information, check out the race website:, go to the Morgantown Marathon Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter @MotownMarathon.

Hope to see you at this great marathon event.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

7 FOR '17

Following is an column that appeared in today's Republican Herald newspaper, published in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

We are a little over a month into a year that, thus far, hasn’t been too bad for runners. Temperatures have been relative mild and snowfall has been minimal.

As you embark on your training for this calendar year, I would like to offer seven tips for ’17 that should make your running more productive and enjoyable

1. WRITE IT DOWN- I believe it is essential to keep an accurate log of your workouts. I've done so for over forty years. Write your workouts in a log/date book, on your computer, or on a calendar. Write a Russian novel, or keep it brief. However you choose to do it, writing it down allows you to study what works and what doesn't work for you, why you ran great or poorly, and any changes in workouts that may have caused you injury.

2. SPEED-We all love to get out there to take in the scenery, listen to music, or enjoy a workout with friends. But, once a week, on weeks when you're not racing, go to your local track or stay on the road, and run something fast. Intervals or tempo runs are fine, but if you want to race faster, speed work is a must.

3. GO LONG-Whether you are planning to run a 5K or a marathon, a weekly long run is essential. If you're running a 5K, your long run may be 6-8 miles; whereas for a marathon it could be 20 miles. (but not every week) Now here's the key. LSD, long, slow distance, is meaningless. Make your long runs count. If you are aiming to run a race at an 8:00 pace, run your long runs at an 8:30-8:45 pace. Long, slow distance makes long, slow runners.

4. PUMP IT UP-Running is great exercise from the waist down. Too many runners, however, neglect their upper bodies. Two or three times a week, design a 20-30 minute upper body lifting regimen that features low weight and high repetitions. Build strength, not bulk, so when your legs tire, your upper body can carry the day.

5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY-Take a rest day if you feel a specific pain rather than soreness. Resting when the pain or illness occurs will keep you from missing much more time if the condition worsens.

6. SAVE YOUR MONEY-Stop racing so much!! Your body needs time to heal. If your goal is to run more races than anyone else, by all means, race every weekend. But if you like EARNING your hardware, by winning age group awards or more, then target and select your races and make them count. Quality, not quantity goes the distance.

7. ENJOY-Run a beer race, crawl under the barbed wire, dress in a tutu, do a zombie run. Keep it fun. Does this contradict the aforementioned Rule #6? Not at all. Select your races, but keep your running fun. Go to big races, but support small races. Both in training and racing, keep it fun, and you will enjoy this sport for a long, long time.

Have a happy and healthy 2017.