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Runners prepare for Holy Half

Katie Perry | Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Nearly 400 runners will participate in the second annual Holy Half Marathon this Sunday in a race spanning 13.1 miles – that’s 52.4 laps around a regulation track, more than 192 treks across Notre Dame’s famed football field or the length of 138,336 LaFortune quarter dogs.

“We have four times as many entries this year than we did last year,” race coordinator Kathleen Coverick said. “I think that ND kids love a challenge – and this race definitely gives them something to go after.”

Coverick said most of the 383 entries are students, however Notre Dame faculty and staff members – as well as other local running aficionados – will also lace up their sneakers for Sunday’s race.

Proceeds from the Holy Half’s $12 entry fee will benefit Catholic Charities’ Operation Helping Hands in New Orleans – a group that provides relief services to people who have incurred heavy losses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, namely the elderly and uninsured.

Coverick said the event has already raised approximately $1,300 – in addition to the heart rates of those training for the physically demanding race.

Senior Tim Stawicki prepped for the Holy Half with the help of a routine he found in Runner’s World magazine that includes “some sprints, some fast[er] medium distance runs and the ever-important long run.”

“I’ve been training officially for about six weeks,” he said. “But you could say that I’ve been training for the past two thousand plus days since I [first] started running.”

Stawicki completed his first marathon in Dublin during the fall of 2004 and went on to compete in the Chicago Marathon last October, but the Holy Half will nonetheless be a new experience.

“I have actually never run a half marathon, having jumped directly from the 10K to the full marathon in terms of racing,” he said.

Senior James Ehlinger said Sunday’s race would be “a good first step” towards his ultimate goal of running a full marathon.

“I wanted to force myself into better shape,” he said.

Ehlinger followed a nine-week training regimen that included a combination of long runs, speed work and cross training. Though he did not completely “stick to the schedule,” Ehlinger said he still feels prepared for the race.

“During my training, I ran the longest I ever have – nine miles,” he said. “I am looking forward to completing the Holy Half for my own personal achievement.”

Stawicki said he was unable to run the Holy Half last year, and “just had to sign up” for this year’s race.

“Personally, it was a way to get started training for some more marathons without the hassle of having to devote three hours on Sunday to running 20 miles,” he said. “This involves a significant decrease in time devotion – about half as much, ironically.”

The 13.1 mile course follows two loops around the Notre Dame campus and is modeled off last year’s route – which Coverick said was “a little inaccurate.”

“I’ve run the course with a GPS watch to try to make it as accurate as possible this year,” she said.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. between South Dining Hall and Welsh Family Hall. Coverick said those still interested in running the Holy Half can register via e-mail at [email protected] or beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

The event is co-sponsored by the Notre Dame Women’s Running Club, Circle K, the Class of 2008 and the Class of 2006. Coverick said a Council of Representatives grant would also help cover expenses.