Editor’s note: Every two weeks, the Sunday Dispatch will give you updates on the progress of the Wyoming Valley Lady Striders Couch to 5K program. Will they have what it takes to cross the finish line this September? Stay tuned.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to complete a 5K without stopping for a breath, or water, or at a local restaurant for a buffalo chicken cheese steak?
Well, a group of women have joined the Wyoming Valley Lady Striders to take their running to the next level. The group’s Couch to 5K Program started July 18 and will continue three times weekly for the next two months.
The program is designed for participants to work up to running a 5K over an eight-week period. Different paces and intervals are designated for each week, working up to a 3.1 mile race. The program culminates with participants taking on a 5K in Pittston.
The Lady Striders group meets three times a week throughout the Wyoming Valley, including the levee in Wyoming and Forty Fort. Lady Striders’ Karen Moskel, a co-founder of the organization and a native of Dallas, started the program two years ago. Initially, the group wanted to do a “Girls on the Run” program. However, that program cost about $6,000 to start.
“First we wanted to do something for the kids, but it was really expensive,” Moskel said. “We thought to do something for women to get together and to get healthy.”
This is the first time Moskel has offered the program in the summer months. She just finished a spring program with about 30 participants. That program ended with the Jewish Community Center 5K in Wilkes-Barre.
Runners young and old compete in the program, Moskel said. She enjoys seeing older women join to help their health and continue to exercise.
“Sometimes they can’t even walk a mile and months later they are doing a five-mile race or a 10K,” she said. “That’s the best part — finding out they are still running.”
This eight weeks of hard work culminates with the first Book It Through Pittston Literacy 5K Run/Fun Walk, which is scheduled for scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. The 5K will be run through the same course as the annual Tomato Festival 5K.
All runners who participate in the program will meet in Pittston and run their own pace to the finish line. Moskel has done several of these programs over the past two years, and crossing the finish line with her runners is the best part.
“It makes me so happy and the group is so supportive,” Moskel said. “We all wait for the last person and we jog in with the last person. At the end they are all friends and run together and support together.”
For more information on the Lady Striders, visit their Facebook page.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick