Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I HATE when other runners offer words of encouragement to me.  I think it's a total showoff move.  You don't have to remind me that "you're almost there," or that I'm doing a "good job."  At the risk of sounding like a Debby Downer, maybe I would see things differently if I were faster (and let's not get into those runners who have to do a "cool down" run, which is conveniently in the opposite direction of the race).  That being said, Scott Martin of Runners World magazine seems to agrees with me:

Your "Encouragement" is Soul Crushing.
By Scott Martin

I was a little more than two miles into a 5K race and I was hurting. As I crested a small hill, I fought to maintain my pace, hoping to PR, and I was failing miserably. While doing my best to fight off the pain, the urge to quit, and the urge to throw up, I had my soul crushed in six words:

"Nice job, sir, keep it up."

I looked around first for my father because I still can't believe anyone would call me sir. Then I looked for the person who made the comment as they went blazing by me. I had to look down because that person was a young boy, probably no older than 11.

Soul. Crushed.

This kid was making my 5K pace, which I was fighting so hard to maintain, look like an easy jog. My hard effort looked like a recovery run to this little guy.

And there you have it, the reason I do not think it is okay to encourage a stranger as you pass him or her during a race. It's bad enough to get passed during a race; it's so much worse when the person passing you gives you the ole "attaboy" as they make you look like you are standing still.

If you are a spectator or a runner who has finished the race, feel free to cheer all you want. If you are still racing and make me look fat and slow (that's not hard) don't make it worse by verbally bringing it to my attention that you are passing me. And if you do, not be surprised if I mutter something ugly in your direction as I gasp for breath.

You passed me, and I'm not happy. No words are going to help me get over that, unless they are, "hurry up, I'll buy you a beer."


Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Just when you think racing season is all but over, someone gives you a great big surprise.  This one was for a truly wonderful cause.

Jen’s husband Dan owns Toomey Tools, which is located across the street from their home in Belleview.  Each year, they host Kids Fest, which is an all day event where they raise money for St Jude's Hospital, as well as for local area children in need.  Some of the activities include a bounce house, a car show, a six-person slide, carnival games, arts and crafts, and of course, the ever popular Easter egg hunt.  I had volunteered to come up for the event and shoot some video for them, which I would edit together as a promotional piece.  Of course we would fit in a run, and Jen wanted to do something on the longer side.

I was hoping to run with the Turtle Running Club on Saturday morning, but we thought it might be too much, since we would be tied up with Kids Fest for most of the day.  About a week later, Jen called to tell me about an impromptu race that the Turtles were planning the weekend I was coming up.  It would be the “We Stand With Boston Virtual Run – 5k/10k/Half Marathon.”  As you know, On April 15, 2013 there was a deadly attack on the Boston Marathon; it was a senseless and terrifying tragedy.  A charity called Will Run For Bling was promoting a virtual run to show support for both the city of Boston and the victims of this terrorist attack.  For a modest $30 entry fee, we received a race bib and a medal.  You were free to map out your own course, or even run on a treadmill.  A large number of the Turtles were participating, and they were even going as far as to put out mile markers for the run.  I guess Saturday it was!

Rachel decided to make the drive up with me, which was an unexpected pleasure.  We did our “Tour de Gainesville” most of Friday, which included shopping, eating and visiting friends.  We were out the door at 4:30am on Saturday morning for an extremely early race start.  The Turtles made a sign, and wanted to take pictures before we ran.  Unbeknownst to Jen and me, the Ocala Star Banner would be there to write an article about our run.  When I told the reporter that I came up from Coral Springs, he was kind enough to give me a mention in the article.  With all the pre-race hype now out of the way, it was time to get down to business.

With over 40 participants running either a 5k, 10k, or half marathon, we hit the streets around 5am.  It was in the mid 60s when we started, with some sprinkles every once in a while.  The route itself was planned for the first eight miles, and it was up to us to fill in the route for the last 5.1 miles.  Many of the runners were either doing the 5k or 10k, so we didn’t see many of the participants (this is a very polite way of saying we are really slow).  I had lots of energy throughout the entire race, but it was Jen’s first long run since the Swamp House Half Marathon back in early March.  Towards the end of our run, we did meet up with Tara and Teresa, and we even spotted a promotional sign for Kids Fest.  As we reached the “promised land” (aka the finish line), a few of the Turtles stuck around to root us on.  It was now time to drive back to Jen’s house, shower, and shoot video for another worthy cause.

On that day, we were a small group of runners with big hearts, united for a worthy cause.  I was proud to be a part of it.

Below is the article written for the Ocala Star Banner:

Runners Locally Pay Tribute to 2013 Boston Tragedy
By Andy Fillmore
Published: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.
OCALA — Runners fanned out across southeast Ocala well before dawn Saturday, walking, jogging and running in a show of support for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and two Ocala residents entered in the 2014 running of the iconic event on Monday.

The display of solidarity with fellow runners included contributions to the One Fund Boston made through a virtual running website by many of the participants.
“We’re all runners,” said Amy Sampson, 41, as she strode down Southeast Lake Weir Avenue as part of the group of 41 participants aged 14 to 67 from several runners’ clubs and independent runners who set out to cover distances from three to 13-plus miles.

Lisa Iketani, 50, entrant number 21702, and Chuck Trombly, 54, number 14822, both of Ocala, are entered to run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday.
Iketani and Trombly were represented by stick figures affectionately held by fellow runners at a gathering before the run, which included a runner’s prayer by Teresa Billingsley.
The two Ocala runners arrived in Boston Saturday morning.

“About 36,000 are expected to run Monday. My personal goal is about three hours, 20 minutes for the marathon,” said Trombly, principal of Sunrise Elementary, in a phone interview along with Iketani from Boston Saturday afternoon.

Iketani said security in Boston appeared to be “a good job.”

“It doesn’t seem tense. It’s friendly,” said Iketani, a physical education teacher with Marion Virtual School of the Marion County school system.

Trombly said a “welcoming environment” surrounded pre-marathon memorials and an event for those who were stopped “at 25.7 miles last year,” which he estimated at about 5,000 runners.

Angela Danford, one of the Ocala event organizers, ran with her daughter Katrina Danford, 20, and husband Andrew Danford.

“Andrew and I are planning on running in the Boston Marathon in 2015,” Angela Danford said in a later phone interview.

Angel Craig, who also helped put together the morning run, said her brother was running in a similar supportive event in Atlanta on Saturday.

Robin Hastad, another organizer, was accompanied by her daughter Kristyne and son Wayne.

Sage Guerrant, 14, the youngest Ocala entrant, was running in her first 10K event, while Holly Alexander, 67, a retired microbiologist and triathlete from Citrus County, planned to run at least nine miles Saturday. Alexander regularly competes in high endurance and Olympic distance events and will compete in a half-marathon Sunday in Clermont.

Runner Jay Sandhouse, 56, drove from Coral Springs to join the Ocala run.

David Keene brought along his dog Zephyr.

Many of the runners wore flashing lights for safety while Sachiko Leon wore a Tracer 360 with shoulder light tubes and a large back-mounted light, which made her visible to vehicular traffic.

Participant Judy Slack made T-shirts for several runners highlighting the group’s support for Boston.

Dave Fechtman said the about 6.2 miles he covered Saturday consisted of “13,107 steps,” according to an electronic counter he wore.

Additional participants included Crystal Watkins, Mary Ponder, Dr. Scott Goldstein, Sharon Rudder, Jennifer Gilman, Donita Hearns and Clyde Williams.

A number of the participants in Saturday’s event also entered the We Stand for Boston Virtual Run on the Will Run for Bling and Charity website ( ), a site that conducts virtual race events and provides “bling” or commemorative medals for entrants.

“We’ve have a picture of an Ocala group on our Facebook page. Florida and Georgia had the most entrants, with Texas third. We had entrants from Germany, Canada and Great Britain. Over 1,000 have entered (to date) ,” said Regina Jackson with Will Run for Bling and Charity.

The website organizers will contribute to the One Fund Boston from the entry fees, which are listed on the website as $25 per runner early entry and $30 after March 15.
The entry fee includes a We Stand with Boston medal. A second round has been set up, due to response, Jackson said.