Training from the mile to the marathon.
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  • Go Race! Thursdays in Charleston

    Posted on May 7th, 2015 CoachGreg No comments
    Brian Wamsley (photo: Jody Huddleston)

    Brian Wamsley (photo: Jody Huddleston)

    As the weather turns hotter and the pace of life slows down in the Lowcountry, many of us back off a bit on our training for a month or two. We’ll continue to run but we might set track workouts aside, change our tempo runs so they’re a little less strenuous, and maybe back off on the mileage a bit. Then the thought hits us - Will I lose fitness? Will I slow down? and for those that are competitive - What’s my competition doing?

    You can stay sharp while dialing back your mileage and intensity by throwing some racing in to the mix. There’s not much racing on Saturdays in the summer. (Who would want to race on Saturday when there are too many other fun things to do outside?) Good news - There are three race series on Thursday evenings. They’re all 5K races but each has a different flavor.

    My favorite races are the ones that are well marked, well timed, and where the race director is passionate about the sport and genuinely likes for runners to have a great experience. These races all fit that description.

    Bulldog Breakaway

    No Frills Against the Clock

    Citadel Track coaches Jody Huddleston and Kris Kut put this series on to help raise money for the Citadel Track Team. With the exception of a short dash across an athletic field, this is all on pavement. For those that track the Charleston racing scene, that is no longer the norm. You’ll run around the campus and then run around Hampton Park where it is closed to traffic and it’s very well shaded. Back around the campus one more time and you’re done. Races start at 6:30 pm and awards are done by 7:30 pm. The first race was last week but the series is still a bargain.

    Race the Landing

    Bring the Family

    Lisa Deaton and her crew of volunteers put this on to raise money for Charlestowne Landing. A beautiful setting, mostly in the shade, the course meanders throughout the park. Plenty of volunteers are on hand to direct you, hand out water, and cheer you on - and feed you afterwards. This race includes races for children before the 5K and dinner afterwards. This is a very family friendly event.

    • Website:
    • Cost: $105/ series (5 races). $35/race. $12-children ($40 at packet pickup)
    • Dates: May 7, May 14, June 4, June 11, July 9
    • Time: 6:15 pm - Children’s races. 7 pm - 5K

    Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K

    Running + Happy Hour = A Quixotic Trail Series

    Join Virginia Wininger and the Onshore Racing crew for this trail run along the waterfront and through the trees on Daniel Island. 80% of the proceeds benefit the SC chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. As a bonus, the Daniel Island Farmers Market is on Thursday evening right next to the start. Happy hour at a Daniel Island location is where the awards are handed out afterwards. The evening is as much about the cold beer afterwards as it is about running!

  • Race of the Month: March 2013

    Posted on February 26th, 2013 CoachGreg No comments

    Our Racing Scene is Growing

    As of this writing, I’ve been able to verify 60 road or trail competitive races scheduled so far for this year in the Charleston area. Twelve of those races are in March. Last year we had over 70 races for the entire year.

    The Contenders

    Mullet Haul - March 2 - 5 and 10 mile trail races on Johns Island. Runners are encouraged to wear mullets and a prize is awarded for best mullet.

    Sweet Grass Music Festival 5K - March 16 - At Mt Pleasant’s Waterfront Park. Later start time - 9 am. Music festival follows. Sounds like a fun, family-friendly event. Make sure you click on the link for race tickets to register.

    Shamrock Shuffle - March 16 - This used to be the Flowertown Festival Run. Both a 5K and 10K race, this is a great tune up for the Cooper River Bridge Run next month.

    Daniel Island 5K - March 16 - A well run race. Accurate course and timing. Benefits the Bishop England track program. Very runner friendly.

    Race of the Month

    Catch the Leprachaun 5K

    • Thursday, March 14, 2013
    • 6:30 pm
    • Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park

    When I attend a race, I can usually tell which ones are put on by runners. In my opinion, they’re usually the best ones. The course is well marshalled, they start on time, and the results are accurate. Catch the Leprachaun is one such race.

    I like mid-week races, especially ones that end with beer and music. The $25 fee includes food, drinks, beer, and St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. More importantly, this race supports the amazing work of Pattison’s Academy, which works to improve the quality of life for children with multiple disabilities by integrating education with functional rehabilitation.

    Register today. The price goes up on March 1.

  • January Race of the Month - Charlie Post

    Posted on January 6th, 2013 CoachGreg No comments

    January Contenders

    There are a couple of good races in January and we’ve been a part of each of them. The first race this year is The Citadel’s Bulldog Breakaway. It’s very low key and the field is not crowded. Citadel track coaches Jody Huddleston and Kris Kut work hard at making these events satisfying for the runner who wants to run against the clock - an accurate course with no traffic. They deliver.

    The Riverfront Race Festival/Charleston Marathon does offer a marathon, half-marathon, and 5K and in its fourth year (third year for the marathon) it is a good event that we already know has improved over the first years. Running in big local events is much different than traveling to run, especially for guys like Coach Noah who go out and run 26.2 for fun. Look for Noah and one of our other Charleston Runs athletes, Cathy, to lead one of the pace groups. With a new route from Burke High School to North Charleston High this could be interesting.

    cpc_logosquareRace of the Month - Charlie Post Classic

    Our race of the month is the Charlie Post Classic. It is indeed a classic - it has stood the test of time. Simple shirt. Simple yet complete award categories. Go; run hard; stop. Eat a bagle, grab an orange. Put on warm clothes and cheer on the rest of the finishers. No hype but a good race.

    This is the showcase event for the Charleston Running Club - for runners, by runners. It’s you against the clock in either the 5K or 15K. Because of the 15K distance, runners come from all over the state to compete. This year it is also the USATF 15K State Championship. The race is also very beginner friendly with plenty of first time finishers kicking off the new year right.

    (If you are new to running or are getting back in to running, you might consider joining Coach Noah Moore’s Couch to 5K program. He’ll let you join late - His group is training for Catch the Leprachaun, another one of our favorite races. You can find more information at

  • First Marathon - The Marine Corps Marathon

    Posted on November 11th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    The following is written by Charleston Runs athlete, Melissa Field. She decided over the summer that she would like to train with a group and a coach. Melissa and I met to chat about her experiences and goals. She is a triathlete who does pretty well for herself at the sprint distance but this was her first marathon.

    I continue to be in awe of marathoning moms.
    ~Coach Greg

    The First Marathon

    mall20400 hours, the alarm rings after some tossing and turning, listening to the pitter-patter of rain outside the bedroom window. I was relieved to get out of bed and get a move on the day. Nervous as all get out, still wondering at every twinge in my knee if I would even make it one single mile down the road that day. Almost cried and/or yelled any time someone said “good luck!”. But now it was finally, time to get ready to go! My brother got up, too, and made us coffee while we got dressed and packed up, we made our breakfasts (peanut butter on w/w bread), took ibuprofen and debated whether to walk to the metro or drive. We finally decided to drive in case it was pouring rain when we got back.
    Runners were already gathering at the metro, all discussing the weather, what fare to get on their tickets and nervously checking their drop bags. We got on a train right away and all switched at the Rosslyn station, where there were suddenly not dozens of runners, but hundreds! Despite that, we were able to get on the next train and it was just a short ride to the Pentagon station, where we were all headed. Many runners were waiting in the warmth of the station rather than heading out into the dark, but I wanted to head Coach Greg’s advice to hit the port-o-potties early and often, so we headed straight for the escalators. On the way out, I spotted fellow Charleston Runs athlete Rob and chatted with him briefly - great to see one familiar face among so many strangers that morning! Wishing each other luck, we headed on toward the huge parking lots at the Pentagon. No lines at all at the port-o-potties, which was great.
    We still had about 30 minutes before we would need to head to the starting area, so we sat around, drank some water and people watched for a while. It was breezy, cloudy and maybe 58 degrees or so, pretty perfect running weather, we thought. When the sun was up, two Osprey airplanes flew over - really exciting! We took one more bathroom break, dropped our bags and headed to the start area. It was packed out there and all of the corrals were already full. My husband walked a little further so he could start with the 4:30 group, and I started somewhere near the 5:30 group. It seemed like no time at all before the Howitzer went off and a little while later, people started shuffling forward. I forgot to check the clock when I crossed the start line, but it was probably 20 minutes after the start, I think.

    After the Howitzer

    Finally running! Wow, what a feeling - so many spectators, so much to look at! The first 3 or 4 miles started with a few hills, heading out toward the river. I used my 3:1 run/walk ratio right from the beginning. That took some discipline, but I kept reminding myself that I was in it to finish - and I didn’t want to risk ANYTHING to improve my time a few minutes.

    Right at the start, the whole road was littered with sweatshirts, gloves, hats and headbands - I saw some nice looking stuff dropped, but resisted the urge to gather anything along the run. I ran right past a Lululemon headband in hot pink!! Mile 5 was up to a bridge to cross the river, and here I took my first fuel because there was a water stop on the bridge. My plan was to fuel every 2nd water stop, which I had worked out would be about every 5 miles or so. I took gatorade at the in-between water stops. Somewhere right after the water stop I looked down at my watch and it was deader than a doornail! Arg! How did that happen on a 100% charge?? I tried all my tricks to try and get it going before just saying - who cares about the time anyway?

    I should mention that the water stops were always fun. Tons of Marines and then always other volunteers helping out, either high school kids, boy scouts, a church, young, old, everything. The Marines were fantastic overall, besides being out at the water stops. They were often standing at strategic places shouting out encouraging words, or funny sarcastic statements, I loved that. I can’t remember a single thing I heard, but I do remember laughing and enjoying it a lot.

    So far, so good, on to the loop up to the reservoir and a pretty steep hill up. I loved the Marine Corps band at the switchback playing their hymn! Up the big hill, through some nice neighborhoods and up to the reservoir, then back down. Here was where I decided to walk downhill, the first and only unscheduled walk break. I think this next part was Georgetown, which was very busy and crowded, and the wind really started to kick up a bit here. The spectators were bundled up, but temps were perfect for us. Long section under an underpass, then up the other side toward mile 10-ish and the Lincoln Memorial, if I remember correctly. Somewhere there was the food stop with oranges, which I avoided like the plague. Didn’t feel like being any stickier than I already was. I kept thinking I would use some water at a water stop to wash my hands but didn’t remember to do that the entire time.

    I watched for my family at 10, because I thought they would be there, but later found out that they didn’t make it to that spot and headed straight over to 15/16. Oh well, it gave me something to look forward to the whole time, hoping that I would see a familiar face in the crowd. The next part was down to Haynes Point, around the golf course. I knew from my coach had told me that this part would be lonelier and it could be windy - both proved true. Some nice things here were the handwritten signs - probably over 100 of them, so there was always something to read. Another were the photos, names and ages of fallen in action soldiers - chilling - followed by a line of 20 some American flags held high. Whew! So though this section was not as “fun” as the others, I loved it, too.

    Halfway Through!

    Melissa on the National Mall

    Melissa on the National Mall

    The halfway point was when I began to feel my hip a bit. I knew it probably came from favoring that bum knee of mine, but it also reminded me that … hey… I don’t feel a thing from that knee! Good news, so I think it was here at the halfway point that I finally started to think, my knee is fine today, and it’s not going to stop me!

    After this, we ran through lots of pretty streets with trees, tons of people, and I saw my family for the first time. Awesome! I had somehow managed to miss my son, older daughter and brother, but saw my sister-in-law, nephew and younger daughter. I stopped to say hi, just awesome to see familiar faces.

    On to the National Mall

    The next big section that I remember was the mall. It was very long, very crowded, bands, music, people, kids giving high-fives, just all kinds of funny things. People handing out plastic spoons of vaseline? No thanks ha ha! Onward - I think I was a little foggy here, though I felt fine, just because I got confused about what mile we were on. The next big piece I remember was the bridge of “beat the bridge” fame. There were a few shouts of joy and relief that we had made it - but I found this part to be quite a let-down. So few spectators (we were pretty spoiled by then) and just a long, grey interstate with nothing much to look at. It seemed like everyone was walking here, and I found that to be demotivating. I really felt my hip here, my quads, my feet - just kind of wanted it all to be over. I knew it was only 1 hour until the finish, though, and that thought drove me on.

    Tears at the Finish

    When I finally got off of that bridge and started to head down into Crystal City, it was a relief! I loved Crystal City! Tons of people, great music, people handing out donuts, lots of fun stuff! Loved this part! I think we must have passed mile 24 here, and all that comes after that is back to the Pentagon and over the same road where we started. The long route around the Pentagon is tough - everyone was tired, I was pooped with a capital P, but feeling mentally good, so I didn’t let the long line of runners out ahead of me get me down. I knew I would make it by then. I saw my family again between 25 and 26, but didn’t even stop - I was so close to finishing! By the time I got to that hill up to the monument, by george, I ran up it all the way. My finish line pictures look terrible, but I felt great! It was a wonderful feeling to pass that line and get lots of high fives from all the Marines there! They have the finish area down to a science, I got my medal and salute (I cried), got my picture taken, got my post-race windbreaker and food, and the next thing you know, it was all over. Whew! Chip time was 5:27:33, or 7,314 out of 10,005 women. Woo-hoo! I couldn’t be happier.

    Sore quads, calves and mostly my left hip, but basically I had an excellent race!  I never regretted not bringing my ipod, there was never a dull moment, really. Now less than a week out from the marathon, and my knee has not felt this solid and good in ages. I plan to start running tomorrow, on the 1 week anniversary of my very first marathon.

    Thank you Greg! I could not have managed without your help!

  • James Island Connector Run 2012 Results

    Posted on November 3rd, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    10K Results

    5K Results

  • Race of the Month: Francis Marion Dirt Dash

    Posted on September 2nd, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    Here at Charleston Runs, we are in the middle of our marathon training season. Our first runner ran the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon on September 1 and we’ll finish with the Charleston Marathon in January. We put in a lot of miles. On the road.

    This Saturday, we will all be out at the Francis Marion Dirt Dash, three races that take place on logging roads in the Francis Marion National Forest. All of our marathoners are running the Half-Marathon but we also have runners in the 5K and 12K. Most of our runners will use this as an opportunity to practice their race day routine - clothes, pre-race routine, shoes, fuel, hydration - and will use it as an opportunity to measure their fitness. Others are a bit beat up and need a break from the routine. They’ll still practice their race day routine but will run this more as a training run.

    The race director, Chad Haffa, started the race in 2010. He’s a local firefighter who had been recently introduced to running in the woods. Out of that love for running on trails, he created the Francis Marion Dirt Dash and later, Eagle Endurance, a small race company that puts on races in the booger woods.

    Chad’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport is infectious. I am connected to a lot of races and he is the only race director who continually solicits feedback from runners and adjusts things accordingly. He’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t know it all and that the sport, along with the expectations of runners, are continually evolving.

    Race Registration

    Online registration for the race is closed but you can still register at packet pick-up at TrySports (1903 Hwy 17, Mt Pleasant) on Thursday, Sept 6, noon-7 pm, and Friday, Sept. 7, noon-6 pm.

    Runner Up - Carolina Children’s Charity 8000

    Our runner up this month is the Carolina Children’s Charity 8000 Meter run. The CCC 8000 Meter benefits MUSC Children’s Hospital. They have great volunteers, most of who have children who have benefited from the services of the hospital. We like it because of the story they tell and that it’s an 8K in Hanahan - there aren’t a lot of races in Hanahan and there’s not a lot of 8K’s.

    Tell us about your favorite races.

    (The Charleston Running Club feeds our blog into their Facebook page and the opinions expressed here are only the opinions of two guys who love to run and inspire others to run. An endorsement here does not imply an endorsement by the Charleston Running Club, but it should.)

  • Race of the Month July

    Posted on July 2nd, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    Oh boy, it gets hot around here in the summer and the race calendar slows down. There are only two Saturday races - both on the same day and there are three Thursday night series. (Note to series directors: Talk to each other a little so that you don’t overlap and maybe one of you could do your series on a Tuesday or Wednesday.)

    The Winner is …

    Coach Greg leading his friend, Pastor Shay Gaillard. (The lead didn't last long.)

    Coach Greg leading his friend, Pastor Shay Gaillard. (The lead didn't last long.)

    Race the Landing Finale on July 19. Coach Noah and I haven’t come up with any objective criteria for choosing our race of the month but we have noticed some trends.

    • Accurate course
    • Reliable and quick results
    • Passionate Race Director
    • Passionate volunteers

    Probably the thing that really makes the race is the Race Director and it seems as the best RD’s are regular runners. Race Director Lisa Deaton is a local age group ace who can be found racing most weekends. She and her volunteers have done an outstanding job of putting on this series of races at Charlestowne Landing. It’s a beautiful course, well shaded, and well staffed. She hired Chuck Magera of Charlestowne Racing to take care of laying out the course and timing the events. Chuck is quick with those results - He emails results to me to post on this website and I usually receive them before I get home from a race.

    The volunteers are glad to see you and are most helpful. Most of them aren’t runners but they are enthusiastic spectators as they direct you on the course and hand out water. When I thank them for being out there so we can run, they immediately respond with, “No, thank you for supporting us!”

    Did I mention the food? I don’t need to because it doesn’t matter! They would still be a top race without the food but they do serve food after each race. The first two weeks were catered by the well-loved Jamie Westerndorf - barbecue one week and Caribbean the next. If you’ve never been to event where Jamie is serving barbecue, you’re missing out. The All-American menu for the final race includes hamburgers and hot dogs. The rumor mill tells me that Jack’s Cosmic Dogs will be doing the hot dogs.

    Looking forward to biting into a dog with some bleu cheese slaw …

    Race of the Month is the opinion of two guys who love to run and race. The Charleston Running Club graciously feeds our blog into their Facebook page and so the opinions expressed here are not theirs - but they should be.

  • June Race of the Month

    Posted on May 31st, 2012 CoachNoah No comments

    It’s almost June and I have not picked the race of the month!  Man, this month has flown by…

    One thing is for sure, there are plenty of races in June!

    This weekend you can choose from two races, but the new 5k trail race Bikinis and Boardshorts at Laurel Hill Plantation in Mount Pleasant looks really cool (plus the shirt design just rocks!).

    Two race series continue this month; the Citadel Breakaway and the Race the Landing.  Both are evening 5k’s and go through two really awesome places in Charleston (you can’t go wrong with either of these races).

    Want to run two races on a Saturday for two great causes?  On June 9th you can run the Phoenix Athlete’s Sweat’n for a Reason at 8am in Summerville and then run the ALS H.O.P.E. Beach Run at 6:00pm on the Isle of Palms!

    This month is so full of races that I not only picked a race of the month, I picked a weekend of races; Father’s Day weekend (June 16th and 17th)!

    Races of the Month

    floppinflounderThe Floppin’ Flounder 5k is an absolute must for all Charleston area runners!  It’s put on by the Charleston Running Club so it is done right!  The shirt is always cool and there is always a great crowd.  This year, Triangle Char & Bar will be serving breakfast burritos after the race!  If that is not enough, this is one of the least expensive races in town ($15 for Charleston Running Club members).

    Complete your Father’s Day weekend with a run on the beach at the ECORun 5k and 10k.  This was my race of the month in April and is such a unique experience I have to share it again.  Running on Caper’s Island is amazing and taking a ferry to the start is an absolute blast!

    So that’s it for June!  I hope you get a chance to run as many races as possible this month.  Don’t forget to stay hydrated (with water) and checkout our race calendar for more details (and results) on these and other races this year. If you’re training for a fall or winter marathon, check out our Marathon Training page.

    (The Charleston Running Club feeds our blog into their Facebook page and the opinions expressed here are only the opinions of two guys who love to run and inspire others to run. An endorsement here does not imply an endorsement by the Charleston Running Club, but it should.)

  • May Race of the Month

    Posted on April 29th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    The Contenders

    Plenty of races to choose from this month, including some new ones. Here’s my favorites:

    Bulldog Breakaway (begins May 17)

    The Bulldog Breakaway Series is a series of 5K races contested at The Citadel on Thursday evenings and put on by the track team as a fundraiser. Simple race against the clock. One lap of the track, one lap of the campus, one lap of Hampton Park (shaded!), and one lap of the campus to finish the race. Coaches Jody Huddleston and Kris Kut do a great job of encouraging and welcoming everybody. If you want to test yourself against the clock, this is the place to be.

    Race the Landing Series (begins May 3)

    We haven’t checked them out because it’s brand new this year but any race that ends with food and beer can’t be all be bad. You’ll be off the road and on the path Charles Towne Landing State Park. Races are on Thursday evenings. They’re promising a good time but do register before the race so they can order enough food.

    Hell Hole Swamp 10K Gator Run and Walk

    I look forward to the Hell Hole Swamp 10K every year, even when I’m not running. It’s run out in the booger woods in Jamestown, South Carolina this Saturday, May 5. Run 1.5 miles on a paved road. Turn right. Run 1.5 miles on a dirt road. Turn right. Run 1.5 miles on a dirt road. Be aware of the elevation change near the end of the dirt road - a railroad crossing. Run 1.5 miles on a paved road.

    Highlights of the Hell Hole Swamp Run

    • Mr. Roy Pipkin and his shotgun
    • Ice water on the course - with ice!
    • The Hell Hole Swamp Festival Parade
    • Race Director and Poet Laureate of Jamestown, Mr. Michael Lake
    • Gator Head Trophies

    gator-headNow, I could explain everything in the list above but you must experience these things to really appreciate them. In the interest of full disclosure, I need to tell you that I am privileged to drive the race champions in my truck in the Hell Hole Swamp Festival parade but I am sure I would pick this race as my race of the month, even if that were not so. (I’m thinking I might put some old school lawn chairs in the pack of the truck for them to ride in this year rather than having them sit on the wheel wells.)

    What’s you favorite race in May? You can find a complete list of races on our website.

    (The Charleston Running Club feeds our blog into their Facebook page and the opinions expressed here are only the opinions of two guys who love to run and inspire others to run. An endorsement here does not imply an endorsement by the Charleston Running Club, but it should.)

    Our Fall Marathon and Half-Marathon training kicks off soon and this year our marathon training includes registration for the Francis Marion Dirt Dash, a $59 value! Take a look at our training information.

  • Marine Corps Marathon Sells Out

    Posted on March 7th, 2012 CoachGreg No comments

    mcm-sell-outThe 37th Marine Corps Marathon sold out in a record two hours and forty-one minutes. That’s not a record for the MCM - that’s a record for any marathon. It was amazing to see the chatter on Facebook and Twitter about the race. If you didn’t make it in, you can still register via the charity partner program.

    Both Noah and I have been inspired by U.S. Marines to make fitness a part of our lives and both of us have run this race to honor those Marines. We’ve encouraged others who have been similarly inspired to do the same when they decide to take the step of training for a marathon. We’re very excited for our friends who have decided to run the race.

    If you’re looking for a training program, Charleston Runs comes highly recommended by our first time marathoners and our age group aces. We kick off our training for fall marathons on July 7.