And So It Begins…

Wow! What a beautiful weekend Mother Nature provided for all who participated in the opening days of the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team! We had temperatures in the 60’s for our runs with unheard of low humidity for June.

This is my 9th season training with MTT and my 4th as an assistant coach. I hope to run my 10th marathon this year and possibly my 2nd ultramarathon. Just putting that out into the universe! I’m grateful to return to the routine and rituals of marathon training. It brings calm and focus back to my life. I think many of our returning participants can relate.

With fellow coaches Sandra and Chris greeting runners on Saturday! Many thanks to Ros High for the photo!

On Saturday, many of my fellow Pink Nation coaches and I helped greet the runners and guided them to their teams. We were, of course, decked out in PINK and wearing cowboy hats to go with our “cowboy up” motto. There may have been a few flamingos, too! The early alarm was almost worth it. And the teams were bringing it this year with branding! Lots of new names and signs. Is this Pink Nation’s influence? We may never know…

With Chris at the entrance to the stadium, directing drivers!

Sunday was our day, though. There are two 700 teams as well as our 500 team, The Pink Nation, who meet on Sunday. I’m super grateful for the tireless efforts of Lisa, one of our head coaches, who keeps us organized. It’s truly a joy to be a part of something this special. We have over 100 runners signed up to our team already, with hundreds more on the many other teams. We were so happy to reunite with our team and meet new friends! 

On the first training day, one of our traditions is to separate the marathoners from the soon to be marathoners. The more experienced runners clap and cheer for our newer runners, and reassure them that this crazy goal is possible. Our co-head coach, Chris, quotes our head coach emeritus, Blair: 

“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a nation to raise a marathoner.”

Blair Just

This gives me goosebumps every time. 

We ran a gorgeous 5 mile route that closely followed parts of the Richmond marathon course through some northside neighborhoods, returning to the stadium for a social. 

One thing my fellow coaches and I noticed is that a lot of our runners went out too fast today! I can’t stress enough the benefit of running your long runs at a conversational pace. Slower long runs really will get you to that finish line! Plus, you get the benefits of engaging in conversations with friends, building your aerobic capacity, and very functional strengthening over the course of those miles. Our goal as coaches is to help you finish the season feeling confident and healthy, not to burn out before the season really gets spicy! We want to witness you successfully crossing that finish line in Richmond!

As Coach Chris told our team today, “It’s time to take the first step.” Let the season begin…


After the run with all the Pink Nation coaches, except for one, who was running a marathon out of town! We had a cutout, as you can see, and he was so busy posing with all the runners Sunday!


If you are training for a fall race, keep this in mind as you log those weekend long run miles. You should be keeping it slow! Save speed work for shorter, weekday runs. Happy running!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

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