the north face uk sale Informal marathon run is half tune
With what little wind there was at their backs and nothing to prove, some 40 runners from the Hastings and Grand Island YMCAs cruised through all or portions of the Y to Y Marathon Run Saturday morning enjoying pure runner’s bliss.
Now in its fifth year, the informal race started by Mike Florek of Hastings serves as an early tune up for a number of serious runners looking to start their year off on the right foot. For others, it is strictly a social event, a chance to break a sweat with friends and catch up with familiar faces from previous races. Officially speaking, there are no times kept, no awards to be won, and no rules to follow. Not even the distance is set in stone.
A handful including Florek completed the entire marathon, which stretches from the Grand Island to Hastings YMCA over sidewalks, dirt and gravel roads. Some ran from Grand Island to Doniphan. Still others began in Doniphan and finished in Hastings. Relay teams split whatever distance they chose to run between them, but not always evenly. The only hard and fast rules in play were to have fun, get some work in, and be ready to swap stories of the experience over lunch at the 16th Street Y afterward.
“We had an incredible day, an incredible run, and good fellowship with runners,” Florek said. “I’m feeling great tired but great. We finished in under four hours, so that was really good for a casual race like this.”
Conditions were ideal for running, he said.
“We had about the best weather we could have, with hardly any wind, and it was all tail wind,” he said. “It was warm enough that we weren’t cold and not so warm that we started sweating. Very comfortable.”
Aside from patches of lingering snow and ice on Grand Island sidewalks, the course posed few out of the ordinary challenges for runners as they looked to find their outdoor stride after several weeks of prohibitive winter weather. Even the patches of mud that dotted the gravel roads proved little more than an inconvenience for those traversing them, Florek said.
“There was one stretch of minimal maintenance road that had a tiny bit of mud on it, and some of the gravel was thawing, but really nothing was too difficult,” he said. “Just a minor inconvenience. Other than some ice on the sidewalks, the roads were easy enough to navigate.”
Grand Island Y relay team members Marcelline Ross, 57, Peggy Jorgensen, 57, and Lacie Wojtalewicz, 37, were among the first to reach the 16th Street location. Starting in Doniphan, they logged an estimated 18.5 miles between them, with Ross’ husband, Dick, serving as their support driver. Though the trio has run races together, this was their first time joining forces as a relay team. They ran the final mile together.
“It was fun,” said Ross, a retired schoolteacher who began running half marathons with “some crazy friends” at age 55. “We just kind of set our own mileage. You don’t have to do the full 13 1/2 miles. It’s very informal. The only person you are racing is yourself.”
Logging the lion’s share of the load at 7.5 miles, Ross ran at a clip of 9.15 to 9.20 minutes per mile that she said got easier as she went along. Running outdoors for the first time since last year’s Turkey Trot took some getting used to, she said.
“The lungs felt it the first two miles,” she said. “After that I felt good.”
Both Jorgensen, an office associate at FedEx, and Wojtalewicz, who works in foster care for the Nebraska Children’s Home Society, averaged roughly 10.5 minute miles during the run.
“It’s fun seeing the people we know from other races,” Jorgensen said. “They’ll come up to us and say, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ It’s nice meeting race friends.”
Wojtalewicz said she and her partners see having workout partners as friends as both blessing and curse.
“Our motto is ‘We need new friends!’ ” she mused. “It’s a good feeling to run with these guys because I’m slower and they kind of push me. I didn’t think I could go as far as I did, but when you have friends out with you, you just go. It’s mostly just about having fun and hanging out, not sitting on the couch Saturday morning.”
Radio personality Gordon Wheeler, 57, of Hastings was part of a seven member relay team that completed the race. A distance runner for more than 10 years, his resum includes two marathons and 17 half marathons. He said the Y race serves as a tune up for future races, including an indoor triathlon in Grand Island Feb. 10 and a St. Patrick’s Day race in March.