UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell thinks so. In February he accepted a marathon challenge from the president of Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW). Nearly 150 UWM faculty, staff and students are now training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon as Team Paws. They will compete against their counterparts from CUW (Team Claws) at the 26.2-mile Oct. 7 event.
Group training runs now depart from the Klotsche Center three times daily, Monday-Friday, and from an area park once each on Saturday and Sunday. Team Paws Coordinator Helaine Hickson wants you to know: It’s not too late and no one is too slow to join the growing ranks of UWM marathoners.
“More than 60 percent of Team Paws runners are first-time marathoners,” says Hickson, an avid runner who is training for the Milwaukee Lakefront and Boston marathons. “And they run at varying speeds and skill levels. The marathon is a long race, but it’s achievable for those who train regularly and at a pace that’s comfortable for them. That’s the mindset we’re taking toward training runs and the marathon itself.”
But don’t take a leisurely approach to marathon registration. Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon participation reaches capacity every year, and registration is expected to close in late March/early April. Between Concordia and UWM, the team with the best average time will be declared the inaugural “Claws vs. Paws” champion.
“In this way, the final UWM faculty, student or staff member to cross the finish line on Oct. 7, 2012, is as important as the first among us to reach the 26.2-mile mark,” says Lovell.
Lovell is looking for more runners to join Team Paws, and as team captain has secured additional programming and support services to give an extra boost to new or less-experienced runners. His goal is for Team Paws to be 200 runners strong.
“Team Paws is a great opportunity to access the camaraderie and expertise of experienced runners, experts in sports medicine and athletic training, and novice athletes, with training programs and running routes accessible from the UWM campus,” Hickson adds.
Marathon advice from a pro: UWM alumna and 800-meter star Dot McMahan
Champion distance runner Dot McMahan (’99 BS Biological Aspects of Conservation) offers new marathoners this advice: “Start off slower than your predicted average pace. The marathon is a long race! Also listen to your body. If something hurts, slow down and gain your composure. Then pick the pace back up when you feel better. Enjoy it or you’ll never want to do another one.”
And whatever you do as part of your preparation for the big race, don’t do it alone.
“Everyone needs support whether it’s a family member who knows nothing about running or a best friend who can run with you,” says McMahan, a member of the Hanson-Brooks Distance Project for elite runners. “Their knowledge of the sport isn’t important but their knowledge of you is important. Everyone needs someone to believe in them.”
And once in a while, leave the watch at home. “Just get out there and run,” McMahan says.