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Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:07 am

You’re in Abe’s Army now

This summer, find fun, friends and fitness through Abe’s Army, a 12-week training program for the Abe’s Amble 10K

Walkers, race walkers and runners of all fitness levels are cordially invited to participate in Abe’s Army, a 12-week program that trains participants to walk, run or race walk the Abe’s Amble 10K, Springfield’s premiere 6.2-mile road race held annually on the last day of the Illinois State Fair. Abe’s Army will begin with an orientation session on May 14; group runs are held on Monday aevenings at 5:45 p.m., from May 21 to Aug. 13; and Abe’s Amble takes place on Sunday, Aug. 19.

2018 Abe’s Army and Abe’s Amble co-directors Carrie Ward (left) and Melissa Wiseman (right) pictured with Abraham Lincoln at the 2017 Abe’s Amble.


One registration fee of $60-$90 covers both the 12-week Abe’s Army training program and race registration for Abe’s Amble. Additional registration perks include an Abe’s Army performance tech racing shirt (which participants are encouraged to wear during training runs to help identify runners); a helpful book containing running tips and a sample training schedule with space to track training runs; access to professional medical advice before, during and after Monday evening group runs, courtesy of Springfield Clinic Sports Medicine; an end-of-program picnic on the last day of training (Monday, Aug. 13); a 20 percent-off coupon for The Springfield Running Center; plus your Abe’s Amble race registration and t-shirt, along with a participation medal to be awarded to individuals who complete both Abe’s Army and Abe’s Amble.

 The adventure begins with an orientation session at the Nelson Center on Monday, May 14. This will ensure that all participants know how to dress for training sessions, what to bring, where to go, and what to expect. Additionally, medical professionals and Abe’s Army and Abe’s Amble race directors will be on hand to field questions from participants. The sorting run takes place one week later, on May 21, and ensures that all walkers, runners and race walkers are matched with a group of roughly 15-20 participants that meets their needs and experience level. The evening begins with a group stretch and warm-up in front of the Illinois State Fairgrounds grandstand; participants will then walk, run or race walk a short distance (roughly one mile) to be sorted into groups based on finish time. Each group is led by 2-4 volunteer leaders who are previous Abe’s Army recruits, enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and motivating and befriending participants.

Fitness acumen and a sense of accomplishment is not the only thing that Abe’s Army participants stand to gain. Abe’s Army is an excellent opportunity to connect with other like-minded walkers, runners or race walkers in your community. In fact, you may even meet your new best friend. This year’s Abe’s Army and Abe’s Amble co-directors, Carrie Ward and Melissa Wiseman, are best friends whose friendship blossomed during Abe’s Army in summer 2010. Although the pair knew of each other prior to joining Abe’s Army, as their children were school friends, it wasn’t until Carrie invited Melissa to join her Abe’s Army group for a training run that the two connected and the friendship developed. They both agree that another perk of the program is the excitement of discovering new parks, trails, races and running programs in the community.

No matter your personal goals or fitness level, there is an Abe’s Army group waiting for you. Whether you participate as a runner or leader, Abe’s Army is an affordable way to train, stay motivated, and foster friendships throughout the summer racing season. Registration for Abe’s Army can be completed online at https://srrc.net/abesarmy, and questions may be directed to srrcabesarmy@gmail.com.

Contact Nan Kording at nkording@illinoistimes.com.


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