Step, step, breath.
Those were the words he repeated to himself over and over; he was almost finished. He felt as if the uneven asphalt beneath his feet was beginning to swallow his ankles and suck him down into an exhausted, defeated state.
Just two more miles, that was all, he thought; two more miles until the completion of his first full marathon.
This is the scene for which many Auburn students strive. Their dedication to running can be observed daily throughout Auburn. Day and night. Rain and shine, they are here — running.
Throughout neighborhoods surrounding campus, on the paths at Chewacla, on the Concourse, down College Street, at Town Creek Park, they run for different reasons.
Some see running as a chance to clear their minds. Some run to improve their health, perhaps in an attempt to fight the freshman 15, or rather the college 30. Some see it as an opportunity to bond with friends.
“I like to run partially because my body craves those endorphins almost as much as eating and sleeping,” said David Meek, graduate student in building science. “It's also a way for me to temporarily escape my otherwise busy daily routine. I know it will be quiet and will allow me to clear my head. It's usually the one thing in the day that I take time to do for myself — if for no other reason, it's just what I love to do.”
Many students run to train for races. There are races of all distances. A full marathon is 26.2 miles, a half marathon is 13.1 miles and a 5K is 3.4 miles.
Ashley Miller and Katie Goode, both seniors in nursing, are in the middle of training for the St. Jude’s Half Marathon in Memphis, Dec. 5.
“We follow the Jeff Galloway marathon training schedule,” Miller said. “I like that we have a schedule to follow, it helps motivate me and keeps me better focused on my final goal.”
The Jeff Galloway marathon training schedule includes two 30-minute runs a week on alternating days, two rest days and a long run day. The long runs increase as the program progresses, starting off with a three-mile run and potentially ending with a 26-mile run.
Tips on running and training can be found on Galloway's Web site, www.Jeffgalloway.com.
A local place to run is Keisel Park on Wire Road. The park provides numerous running-level trails.
Graveled trails wind through cool treed areas which offer shade on a hot sunny day.
The terrain offers a diversity of up and down hill routes.
“I like running anywhere away from roads,” Meek said. “It's easier to enjoy the run without cars to worry about. Also, it reduces impact on your joints which is key for distance running.”
There are a number of marathons in the Southeast students take part in, including the Country Music Marathon in Nashville in April and the Thanksgiving Day Marathon in Atlanta.
Some students are even making the trip to Disney World to take part in Disney's Princess Half Marathon. Women of all ages and from all parts of the U.S. gather together to run, dressed as Disney princesses, wearing crowns, feather boas and Tinker Bell skirts.
More information can be found at www.disneyworldsports.disney.go.com.
Although running is time-consuming and may be challenging, Jeff Siegel, senior in finance, enjoys it.
“I really like to run around campus,” Siegel said. “You get to see so many other people running and say ‘hey’ to them as you pass.”