Some runners roll out of bed at sunrise and take off down a well-worn path before returning home to drink a power smoothie and then start their day. Others run through questionable neighborhoods at night and then stop at a bar for margaritas afterward. The latter describes an emerging urban running trend, but don’t you dare call them a club, they’re a crew.
While running clubs have been around for years and have chapters in every major US city, running crews are starting to gain in popularity. Larger groups including the New York-based NYC Bridge Runners, Orchard Street Runners and Isla de Corredores, offer people the chance to break away from the norm. The major difference between a running club and a crew has more to do with attitude than time of day. Urban crews tend to be off the beaten path, literally. They race across bridges and cover terrain not typically traveled by the casual runner before winding down at a club or burger dive.
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Eli Sapharti is no stranger to the taunts that come from cruel children and ignorant adults. Over the years he’s been saddled with nicknames like, “Fat Boy” “Bubble Butt” “Bench Warmer” and more. Now, 105 pounds thinner, Eli boasts a body fat percentage of only 10% and he’s currently training to compete in the Physique Division of a Men’s Bodybuilding Competition in February 2014. We’re guessing he’s earned a few new nicknames that put a smile on his face.
Growing up, Eli remembers always being the kid who got picked last for sports teams, the one who endured teasing, bullying and being stuck in the dreaded friend zone when it came to girls. After a growth spurt in the 9th grade, his body lengthened and lost weight, but the pounds didn’t stay away for long. “I simply enjoyed food,” he explained. “As most over -eaters, I used food as my drug of choice. Horrible eating habits and zero physical activity led me to gain an incredible amount of weight.”
Eli knew he was unhealthy, he was aware his weight had crept up to a dangerous level but that awareness wasn’t enough to spur him into action. “It wasn’t like I didn’t know that I was very overweight and needed to lose weight,” he said. “I mean, I was suffering from high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, severe anxiety and panic disorder. That should have been enough to get me to do something about it, but it didn’t.”
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For a couple in Australia, the new year started off with a goal much bigger than most. The couple plans to run a marathon every day this year.
That’s 365 marathons in 365 days if you need us to run the numbers for you.
Alan Murray and Janette Murray-Wakelin departed from Melbourne on New Year’s Day morning for the first of 365 marathons in 2013. The couple are grandparents in their 60s running to raise money for charities and awareness of healthy living. Their route, and further explanation of their mission, can be found on their site, Running Raw Around Australia.
Janette was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 50s. She was told she had 6-12 weeks to live, according to a story at Yahoo News. Murray-Wakelin declined traditional treatment and began eating a raw diet to treat her cancer. The couple has eaten a raw diet ever since. In fact, Janette has a book due out this year called “Raw Can Cure Cancer.”
Many studies regarding raw diets contest that one will get maximum nutrients from uncooked vegetables, fruits, and plant proteins. Most studies show that vitamins, phytonutrients, and enzymes are destroyed once they reach temperatures around 120-130 degrees. If these studies are true, the Murray’s will be getting tremendous nutrients to fuel them on their 9631.25 mile journey this year.
Holly Perkins is a personal trainer, with a degree in exercise science and nutrition from Penn State, who shared some insight about the Murray’s lofty goals.
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Eric Bruce arrived in New York City last week from his home in Bermuda to run his 39th marathon. He was checking into his hotel, which was without power, when he learned of the cancellation. He had just chatted with the porter after learning how his family had fared during the storm.
“I was disappointed I would miss what I originally came here for but as another runner said, ‘None of us knew what challenge we personally would face this weekend,’” said Bruce.
Most of us watched the drama of the 2012 New York City Marathon unfold from afar. Many shared their opinions of what they thought runners should do and what the city should have done, but the reality is that most of us weren’t there and we were just playing armchair referee. It’s always easy to problem solve from a distance and to tell people how they should feel when we’re not the one directly dealing with the impact of such a tough situation.
Bruce is one of three runners we spoke to who were actually there and traveled to the city because Mayor Michael Bloomberg told them the race was still on. These runners gave up months of their lives to train for this race, they spent money to travel to New York City, and they wrestled with the emotions of being told it was all for nothing.
However, Bruce encountered more good spirit than bad during his unique stay in New York. He recounted the grace and humanity he experienced from New Yorkers. “My hotel was downtown and I was without power for part of my stay,” he said. “Strangers offered to let me stay in their homes, extended well wishes, and hoped that they would see me in next year’s race.”
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Our actions truly speak louder than words, especially when it comes to our kids. The choices we make every day have an impact on our children whether we intend for them to or not. For Kris Lawrence, mother of three and competitive marathoner, her daily workouts have led to her and her daughter running together and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Lawrence is a very busy mom. She’s also a military wife who finds herself running the show solo for long stints while her husband is away on duty. When I hear the phrase, “I don’t have time to exercise,” I often think of Lawrence and her ever-decreasing marathon times and realize there are no excuses good enough. If this mommy has a 2:52 marathon PR and manages three kids on her own for many weeks of the year, anyone can find the time.
Sometimes Lawrence has to find the time by using the treadmill in her home. The fact that her treadmill is is next to her kids’ playroom may be why her influence is being felt by her daughter. Lawrence’s running is just a part of her children’s lives.
“My treadmill is next to their toy room and I’ve taken them to the track to play on the infield while I run laps more times than I can count. They always ask how far I’ve run that day and how fast I went too. I love that they ask those questions.”
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