What do you do if your New Year’s resolution is to run a 5k – but your town doesn’t have one? You start one, of course.
That’s what Carol McGinty did in her home community of Mannington. Carol, along with lots of other partners, organized the first 5k run through Mannington streets, which took place this past Halloween.
The first step in bringing the 5k dream to life was attending the statewide Try This conference in June 2015. Main Street Mannington sent a team of people to the conference, including Carol, and one of the breakout sessions about organizing 5k runs stuck with her. After hearing from others in the state who were race-organizing pros, like Alexis Batausa from the Tug Valley Road Runners Club, Carol was inspired to try it in Mannington.
Carol wanted to provide an opportunity for people in Mannington to be active and make friends through the 5k race. Once she got involved with helping to organize it, all the pieces started to fall together.
Local people who were working to make Mannington a healthier place had previously created a Live Well Mannington Facebook pageto share information and plan events. And WVU’s Center for Excellence in Women’s Health was also working with residents to plan a Women on Wellness (WoW) retreat in Mannington.
As fate would have it, one of WoW’s goals was to add 0 – 5k training for the WoW communities. Although a leader in organizing the 5k day-of logistics, Carol doesn’t consider herself a runner and didn’t feel comfortable in a training coach role. So she recruited Fairmont State student Maddi Wade to help. Maddi, who is studying to become a physical therapist, was excited about the idea and agreed to serve as the training coach.
And they were off! About 23 people signed up for the training, and a group of about 15 came consistently. Maddi and her exercise physiology professor, Paul Reneau, worked together to develop a two-month training program for walkers and runners. Maddi led the group once a week in the workout, then gave two “on your assignments” for the rest of the week to prepare for race day. She also developed the route for the 5k and held the training sessions on the 5k course, so participants would feel comfortable with it on the big day.
When not training, Carol and the team were hard at work preparing for the race.
Guided by the WoW team, and using tools from the Try This website, they started talking to everyone they could about the race. This included city officials, police, local businesses, area churches and other groups involved with Main Street Mannington, and Marion County Parks and Recreation.