Running and walking season is upon us. The cooler temps offer a perfect opportunity to get outside and get active. With the fall season comes a plethora of organized run and walk opportunities. As a veteran marathon runner (94 and counting), I am partial to these organized events. No matter your distance of choice, an organized run provides the means of setting and achieving a fitness goal. Training for and taking part in an organized event is also a way to meet new people and strengthen the bond of current relationships.

Our community is fortunate to host one of the most well organized races in the country: the Evansville Half Marathon. This year’s event, the 11th annual race, will be held on October 4. The YMCA of Southwestern Indiana does a fantastic job of drawing approximately two thousand runners and walkers from not only our region, but also from the surrounding states. The Y offers a comprehensive training program, Jump Start and Team 13, which starts yearly in June and runs right up to the date of the half marathon. The program is open to all, and is a very affordable, organized training regimen. In addition to three organized weekly runs, two shorter distance races are held before the half marathon, progressively building trainees up to the 13.1 mile distance. If you missed training for this year’s event, I highly recommend considering it as a fitness goal for next year. I really believe anyone can tackle the half marathon distance, if they follow the Y’s structured training program.

The half marathon planners are pleased to announce two big changes to their 2014 venue. For the first time in 11 years, the race will be held on a partially new course. This year, the start and finish of the race will be in the same location. The Y’s objective with this change is to increase space for crowd support, as well as to make the race more logistically friendly to participants.

Another exciting addition to the 2014 race is a pre-race pasta dinner sponsored by The Women’s Hospital. The theme of this inaugural dinner is “Ignore the Impossible”. The guest speaker, Dane Rauschenberg, is an extreme athlete based in Portland, OR. In 2006, Dane ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks for charity. Dane has written two books and continues to motivate people nationwide as he speaks at race expos around the country. This pasta dinner is open to everyone, not just race participants. Dane will inspire you no matter your fitness level. The dinner will be held on Friday, October 3 in Johnson Hall at the Health Science Building of Deaconess Hospital. Registration begins at 6:00 pm with dinner at 6:30. Attendees may also register online through the Evansville Half Marathon website:

As we usher out the scorching summer heat, consider taking advantage of one of the many organized race opportunities our community. Whether you want to compete, challenge yourself, or just socialize; there are many benefits to clicking that registration button. The Evansville Half Marathon is one of many events offered locally this fall. Whatever your fitness goal, I look forward to seeing you outdoors, keeping fit in these cooler fall temperatures.

Michelle Walker ~ M.A., 50 State Marathon Finisher, Mother of 6



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