Wichita’s Local Joes Run Their First Half Marathon in 32 Days

It’s been a hot summer and those of us who have been training for a fall race have had our fair share of struggles. Even the most seasoned runners have had to take extra water breaks, adjust our paces, and start even earlier to beat the heat.

But what about our gang of unlikely runners? Our Local Joes have been taking on the challenge of going from non-runners or novice runners to half marathon finishers. How have they fared this training season?

Our Local Joes are just 32 days away from the starting gun of The Prairie Fire Marathon. Just four months ago many of them couldn’t run a mile or even fathom running 13.1 consecutively. Their training has got them up in the neighborhood of running 10 miles and they are surprising themselves and all of us watching with what they’ve been able to accomplish since May.

Trainer Holly Perkins laid out specific plans for each of our runners back in the spring. The plans were designed to get our Joes to the finish line. They had to overcome more than just the physical, but the logistical and even emotional issues that all runners deal with. Time is always fleeting and our brains don’t always rally for us. The Joes have had to learn what all runners deal with. Simply put: life can get in the way of running.

Besides the hurdles of schedules and commitments some of the Joes have had to fight harder than others to feel comfortable running. But overall, they’ve all made amazing strides. We checked in with each of them this past week:

John Thompson was featured in a true weight loss story here at DietsInReview.com in January. At that time he’d lost 155 pounds; today he stands two pounds shy of a 200 pound total loss in the last two years! He saw the opportunity of the half marathon as another challenge to take on as he continues to grow healthier. John has hit nearly every workout prescribed for him and said that as of today, “I am doing pretty well, still losing weight, still getting faster and farther.” John also comments how his weekends are littered with workouts, something he never imagined just a few years ago.

Jennifer White can be seen many weekends right by John’s side as they meet up for long runs together. She always encourages her teammates and admitted that she likes how the running is changing her shape. Recently, she’s definitely struggled with finding the time for her runs as she hosted a very successful inaugural 5K for the organization she created, ICT SOS, to help stop human trafficking. The race was this weekend and Jennifer said, “My training has come to a screeching halt the last week and a half as we prepare for Race for Freedom but I plan to be back out there running again Sunday!”

Cassandra Schwartz has been a fun Joe to watch from the beginning. She took on the challenge knowing it would be hard and she’s never been shy about stating how hard it really is. Admitting that she had no prior athletic experiences, she was truly starting from scratch. The coolest thing about this non-athlete? The girl has become a runner. She completed a 10K in July with two other Joes. Best yet, a few weeks ago she even muttered the words, “I’d like to try for the full marathon next year.” Her biggest hurdle today is her busyness, too. But thankfully she’s found running to be a good thing. “It’s been difficult fitting in trainings due to schedule and conflicts. I’m actually really looking forward to my long run Saturday. The alone time is much needed,” said Schwartz.

Nathan Carr, our big, tall, football player, will stand high above most other runners come race day. His stature does not make you think runner, but he’s getting the job done and proving that anyone can do it with proper training. Having watched Carr run his first mile back in the spring, it’s been really exciting to see him keep with it. He, Schwartz, and White wore their 10K medals proudly this July and I’m sure Carr never thought he’d get that far when he started. He’s definitely had his share of time struggles this summer. Just this week he updated us on his latest status.

“Things are going well. Still having to find time to make the runs work, but I will have to do that the rest of my life. Things have been a little crazy on my end. I have accepted a position with an advertising agency in Kansas City, and will be moving within the month. While I won’t technically be a ‘Local’ Joe, I am still excited for the race.”

On top of that, Carr’s been the only one with a slight injury during this process. “My knee has been nagging me now that the miles have really started to rack up. I have been keeping ice on it when I can,” said Carr.

It’s so close to race day, these guys can nearly taste it. They are struggling with the same battles all of us come up against. Time, schedules, and even injuries. Hang in there Joes. We’re all rooting for you and can’t wait to see you with your finisher medals on October 14!

Also Read:

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5 Reasons Gu Energy Gels Rank as a Top Refueling Choice for Runners

Get Down and Dirty at Pretty Muddy – a Women’s Only Obstacle Mud Run

Photos by Justin Ochs

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