Training for Richmond Marathon already underway

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - November may seem a long way away but hundreds of people started training this weekend for the Richmond Marathon coming up this fall and a local training group is marking a major milestone this season.

Most people won't start training for the marathon for another month or so, but the Sportsbackers training group is already preparing for the big race.

This is the tenth year Sportsbackers has trained for the marathon and its once small group of runners has ballooned into over a thousand running Richmonders.

For the next six months, Babz Barnett is going to be training for the Richmond Marathon. Babz finished her first marathon fifteen years ago and has spent every year since then trying to convince herself to run another.

"Every year since I've said, 'I'm going to do a marathon, this is the year I'm going to do a marathon' and even last year I said I was going to do a marathon," she said.  "Well, what pushed me to point of getting to do the marathon was signing up for the training team."

This time she's trying to get a little help from her friends. She signed up to be part of the marathon training group, joining nearly 1200 people all trying to get ready for the race.

The race isn't until November - so if you think training in early June sounds a bit early, you're right. This group trains about a month earlier than most.

Don Garber is one of the coaches and he says the goal is to get even the most novice runner ready.

"We don't care how fast you run," Garber said.  "We want you to have a good time and we'll get you to the marathon."

For ten years this group has met early Saturday and Sunday mornings, trying to keep people motivated to continue their training. Runners like Babz say there's always an excuse to not continue your training.

"Life gets busy," Barnett said.  "It's nice to have this commitment to say, 'I have this appointment on Sunday morning to be with my team' and it's harder to get out of."

And there's no backing out now.

"Now that I'm saying this on TV, I'm really committed to this process," she said.

You have until June 19th to sign up even though training started this weekend. The program costs $160 and includes your registration for the race.

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