EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series by Kent Cutright as he begins training for the Aug. 20 News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
Cutright is a 43-year old resident of Mineral Wells, who is an account executive and sports broadcaster at a local radio station and is a pastor at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Like many of us "forty-somethings", I was active as child and teen but as I got older and my life changed so too did my habits.
It wasn't until one day when I saw a photo that I was in that I decided that enough is enough and if I am going to make some positive changes in my life then I need to put down the remote control, put away the Oreo's, Doritos and Captain Crunch and start running.
At first, it was not pretty. In the beginning, a quarter-mile felt like torture. But with encouragement from friends and family, I stayed with it.
I joined the Beginners Clinic that the River City Runners conducts every spring at the City Park and it was there that I found some of the nicest, most encouraging people ever, one in particular, Chip Allman. It was that clinic that gave me the help and encouragement to keep going and got me hooked on running.
People will ask, "Why do you run?" To which I respond jokingly "Because I like to eat."
Actually, I do like to eat and that is part of the reason why I run. But in all seriousness, I run for a lot of different reasons, the biggest reason I run is simply for me. I feel that running has given me the opportunity to escape the pressures of everyday life for just a little bit and clear my head, to even find a new way to connect with people and with God.
Last year, I ran my first two half marathons, the first being The News and Sentinel Half Marathon and the other The Greater Cleveland Fall Classic in Strongsville, Ohio. So far this year, with the help of my running buddies, I have conquered the Athens Half Marathon in Athens, Ohio. and the Decker's Creek Half Marathon in Morgantown.
The News and Sentinel Half will be my third of hopefully four half marathons this year with the Columbus Half Marathon completing my running schedule.
This past Monday in Vienna, was the 8-mile part of the half marathon training. Despite the hot and humid conditions, the turnout of runners and walkers was incredible. I was a little apprehensive about this run because the Thursday prior, I injured my right calf to the point that I had to go to Doctor Colegrove for treatments and therapy and was cleared Monday morning to "go easy".
Tom Kramer gave us our instructions and sent us on our merry little way through Vienna. After about 20 steps, I was ready to turn back because of my calf but I didn't and I'm glad I kept going.
A few runners and walkers passed me and asked how I was to which I grunted in disgust, "Just great."
As we started up the first hill on the paved path, one of my friends slowed down and started to walk with me. I told them to go ahead to which they politely responded, "Come on."
So we walked all the way to Jackson Middle School before we decided to run. We ran all the way to the second downhill on River Road before I need to slow down and walk. Needless to say, the rolling grade of that road was playing havoc with my calf, but we got near the tennis courts by the Country Club and took off again, making to the water stop at St. Michael's. At the stop, we got a drink of water, I stretched my calf again and off we went down Grand Central toward Rosemar.
I had to stop two more times to stretch my calf, once on Rosemar and again on 46th Street.
We finally made our way back to Jackson Park and walked the hill back toward Rosemar. It was here that my friend asked if we were going to walk the rest of the way, but I was determined to finish running and that's what we did.
Monday wasn't a pretty run by any stretch of the imagination, but with the help of a good friend, I finished.
God didn't bless me with a lot speed, but he did bless me with some pretty incredible friends. Tomorrow will be the nine-mile Belpre-Parkersburg route. Prayers would be greatly appreciated for us all. (Ha ha).
So until next Sunday, I hope to see you out and about running or walking. God Bless.