Emily Wanger’s post-run routine is always the same: a phone call to her mother with the distance she ran that day. The first time she called, it was one mile. Now, it is seven or more. The calls provide both advice and motivation for the University of Mary Washington freshman.
“She always gives me some type of motivation or tips to improve,” Wanger said.
Wanger is one of 22 students in Corey Hewson’s “Training for the Half Marathon” course at UMW. Like Wanger, most of the students in the course claimed little running experience at the start of the semester. By semester’s end they will tackle the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in downtown Fredericksburg.
For Hewson, coach of the UMW women’s soccer team, the class is more than a workout session. It’s a way for students to learn healthy living skills.
“Mary Washington promotes lifelong learning,” Hewson said. “This is a part of it.”
Students in the class run as a group twice a week, with Hewson alongside them. They wear GPS watches, provided from a UMW grant, to help them keep track of their distance and their pace. The students also run individually throughout the week to build their endurance for the 13.1-mile half marathon on May 19.
Junior Samantha Krenzer, who is taking the class with her roommate and suitemate, said the format of the class makes the prospect of a half marathon more attainable.
“I was not an avid runner before the class,” she said. “Now I have the time set aside each week to run.”
For Wanger, the camaraderie of the class makes what was unimaginable for her just a few months ago realistic.
“It is really nice to know people are doing this with me,” Wanger said. “I run with three other people and we always motivate each other to complete the run for that day. When I am having a bad running day they always cheer me on, and when I see my classmates running on a different trail it makes me want to keep running as well.”
Hewson hopes to offer similar classes in the future and would love to see the class expand to include faculty and staff.
“The hardest thing you have to do is put your shoes on,” he said.
In conjunction with the run, students are collecting donations for The One Fund, a foundation raising funds for families affected by the tragedy.
Donations will be accepted at the Athletics Department Office in Goolrick Hall through Wednesday, May 1, with checks payable to One Fund Boston, Inc.