by Lauren Fisher
photos by Anna Talarico
13.1 miles is the equivalent of a half-marathon. Three Providence Panthers were recent participants in Thunder Road, Run for Your Life’s half-marathon race in downtown Charlotte. The race started at 7:45am on Saturday, November 17, with over 2,300 race participants.
Providence counselor Jewel Abbott completed the half-marathon in 1 hr. 29 minutes and 29 seconds. This time beat his previous half-marathon time he ran 10 years ago by 20 seconds. “I was the 2012 Thunder Road Half-Marathon Masters Champion. [I was] 6th in the overall race, out of 2300 plus finishers. I was very pleased,” Abbott said.
After signing up for the race in September, Abbot began to train intensively. He averaged 40-50 miles per week, with his longest run capping at 16 miles. “I’m 40 and I’m motivated to compete at the Master’s level,” Abbott said. “I feel blessed by God to be given 40 years on this earth and the half-marathon was my celebration.” Mr. Abbott warmed up early in the morning before he left for the race and relied on calories from the previous night for breakfast.
Even though she was relatively relaxed before the race, senior Kara DeFilippis was still unable to swallow much breakfast due to nerves. After running a mile-long warm up loop and stretching, she was ready for the 13.1 miles ahead.
DeFilippis has been running for about 7 years and decided to sign up for the half-marathon simply because, “I run every day anyway, I might as well be training for a race!” DeFilippis bumped up her weekly regime from 15-20 miles a week to 30-45 miles a week. Each week included a long run on the weekend, while each run had a specific purpose such as speed, distance, or pacing on hills. “Long runs were the most challenging both mentally and physically, knowing I had to willingly sacrifice a couple hours of my Saturday morning to run fourteen miles, “DeFilippis said. “I made sure I could run three miles before I ran four, and twelve miles before I could run thirteen, so that kind of build up made the process of training relatively stress-free.” DeFilippis beat her goal time by 12 minutes and expects to be in another race again soon.
Senior Adair Sloan started running in January “just for fun and to get in shape for spring break,” she laughed. After increasing distance throughout the summer Sloan decided she wanted to try a half-marathon, however, she wanted someone to run it with her. Lynn Griffiths, an experienced runner and the mother of Sloan’s friend, volunteered to train with her.
Sloan’s morning before the race consisted of stretching and a breakfast of a banana, Greek yogurt and a little water. Sloan said that during the race, “we didn’t listen to music at all; usually we talk and tell stories to make the time go by faster. When we would come across hills, we would encourage each other to keep going.” Sloan and Griffiths gradually increased their mileage each week until reaching 12 miles, but never actually reached a full 13 before the race. Sloan and Griffith’s only goal was to not walk and, “successfully, we didn”t walk!” reported Sloan. “I felt very accomplished and proud,” said Sloan about her performance.” I love setting goals and then reaching them… I definitely appreciate running a lot more now that I have participated [in a half-marathon], and I respect everyone that does it.”