HYPERLOCAL NEWS HUB BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM
Star Runners trains and prepares Memphis area runners
By: Michael G. Lander/MicroMemphis Reporter
September 28, 2012
From Cooper-Young and beyond, members of Star Runners often come together and hit the streets in and around Memphis. Although they run and train together during the week, on weekends they are often out before many in the city have even awakened.
Star Runners is a running club that trains, coaches, and prepares runners at all levels. Star Ritchey formed the running club four years ago. "I started it because I am passionate about running, the community, and helping people," Ritchey said.
Star, and her husband, Keith Ritchey, are residents of Cooper-Young and it was there that Star Runners began. "It started small as a training group for the Cooper-Young 4-Miler and has morphed into much more." The group currently has about 135 members.
While everyone might have their own reasons for joining Star Runners, Andy Ashby of Midtown joined to prepare for the 2011 Cooper-Young 4-Miler. Ashby then continued his training for the St. Jude half marathon and is training with them now for the St. Jude full marathon this December.
"I'm not good at self-motivating myself to run," Ashby conceded, "and it's more fun to run with a group," he said.
Holly Ashmore of Midtown would agree with that. "Having the support and motivation of others is the only thing that keeps me going. I even found that I could inspire others, which was really awesome," Ashmore said.
For others, such as Mandy Chatellier of Memphis, she has made many new friends after joining Star Runners. She only knew one person when she first joined the marathon training group and said that she now has more than 30 friends. Chatellier said that she spends up to nine hours a week running with about 10 of these friends since they are in the same pacing group with one another.
Keith Ritchey had always considered himself to be athletic, but the distance running for him came from the growth of Star Runners. He runs three to four times a week and between four to 10 miles on his runs. Over the years, he has had a few muscle and tendon aches and pains from overuse, but he attributes his lack of serious injuries to his wife, Star.
"Star is excellent with modifying plans and helping you realize when you need to back off or make small changes so that you can stay healthy."
Over the last four years, Keith Ritchey said that he and other members of Star Runners have participated in half or full marathons including ones for St. Jude Children's Hospital, the New Orleans Rock & Roll, the Nashville Country Music, and Wade Big Adventure. They have also run in the Memphis in May Triathlon and the Cooper-Young 4-Miler.
While Star Runners does have membership fees, Star Ritchey said the amount that someone is expected to pay is based on the degree of training that is required. "The fee for our triathlon group, for instance, is a little more than our running group because a lot more goes into coaching and preparing someone for three sports than it does for one," she said.
Star Runners often meets in Cooper-Young or Overton Park during the week and at other locations in downtown Memphis, Shelby Forest, Shelby Farms, and the Wolf River trails on weekends.
To learn more about this running group, you can visit their website (http://starrunnersmemphis.com) or follow them on twitter (@runnersstar) or facebook (starrunners).
Michael Lander covers Sports and Recreation for MicroMemphis.
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