The Rundown
PRA photo
From the Top

PRA President, Laura Harris President


Well, it's that time of the year again, where the PRA Board is changing.Thanks to our immediate past president, Jehan Clark, we have greatly improved the functioning and implementation of many PRA processes over the last year.Jehan is an excellent leader, and I can only hope to continue in his footsteps, moving the PRA forward while honoring its past.2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the PRA, and I am excited and honored to be taking on the role of president.I have many returning board members this year, and several eager new ones.I am already impressed with this board, after just one meeting, as everyone seemed willing to take on new roles!In future issues of the Rundown, I hope to feature our individual board members, so you can get to know the current team.Together we hope to continue PRA's tradition of putting on both large and small races, directing both road and trail races, and welcoming all ages and skill levels to our events.We hope you will join us at our races and help make this year the best yet!

Thank you,




Post Run Recap!
Bear Lake Trail Challenge 

As first year race director, I really did not know what to expect race day morning.  Beside the fact that I had to get up before the sun rises, drive out to the middle of nowhere (which for me is a struggle being so directionally challenged), and worried if everything was packed, enough food, etc, I was determined this race was going to be a hit.  I met up with co-race director, Angelika Cope, and good friend Diane Martinez at the last known gas station before losing any cell service.  We briefly ran through our checklist, discussed volunteer duties, and made last minute Facebook updates before heading out.  As we approached the campground, the stillness of nature and the beautiful scenery assured me we had nothing to worry about!  With all the excitement, we arrived 30-45 minutes early so we decided to take advantage of our surroundings and enjoy a quick little run as we watched the sun rise over the lake.  We finished our run just in time as the PRA trailer and several volunteers arrived.  Now it was game on!

With the help of our amazing volunteers, the trailer was unloaded, race day registration was kicking off, food was prepared, course was marked, and water stations were ready all within what seemed like minutes.  The runners were arriving and the race was about to begin! 

The runners took off on the challenging 4-mile loop through the varying terrain through the Bear Lake trails.  The smell of hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill incited the runners over to the pavilion as they crossed the finish line.  In addition to great food, we also had the pleasure of sharing this day with the birthday of a very special man, Mr. Al Ambrosi, who turned 81 years young!  After we sang "Happy Birthday" and cut the cake it was time for some fabulous door prizes and the highly anticipated pie eating contest!  We had six young contestants, three male and three female, who sat across from each other staring down at the apple pies they were about to devour.  On your mark...get set...go!  The crowd chanted as these young contestants battled it out to the finish.  The excitement continued as our new president, Laura Harris, announced the winners while several board members threw goodies out to the crowd.  A perfect after party with never a dull moment!

As co-race director Angelika Cope said, "Bear Lake 4-mile Run turned out to be a pretty amazing day.  None of it could have happened without the support of our volunteers and PRA family.  Thank you all SO very much.  I hope each and every runner out there enjoyed it just as much as we did!  Can't wait for next year!"


Bear Lake


 A very Special Birthday for a wonderful supporter of the PRA   

What is a good run without a silly pie eating contest to follow!




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Metabolic Efficiency

Mindi Straw


As a triathlete I generally have a training schedule  for my upcoming races which incorporates swimming,  running, cycling, "brick" workouts as well as strength training  and stretching, yoga and Trigger Point.   It wasn't until a about a 1 � yrs ago that I decided to "train" my body nutritionally so I could both train efficiently and hopefully improve my performance. 


 Despite being a Registered Dietitian I had really never taken the nutritional aspect of training into consideration until I started doing endurance sports.  One day, I was doing a long workout (ride 2 hrs/run 4 miles) and realized about three-quarters of the that I was totally out of energy and could not fathom taking another step.  Many of us refer to this as "bonking" or "hitting the wall."  Whatever you call it, it made me question my ability to be able to complete a Half Ironman and made me think about what I needed to do nutritionally to prevent this from happening again!

In years past I have generally stuck to the "old school" approach  to nutrition.  Generally I would try to eat "healthier" the week prior to an event.  This would  include taking my multivitamin, drink lots of fluids, and "carb load" the night before.  This seemed to work for me in short distance races,  but as I started to train for longer distance events I needed to train my body to become metabolically efficient so I could perform and cross the finish line feeling good (not crawling).   This "new school" approach encourages you to use nutrition as your ally to promote training efficiently and enhance performance.

There is a lot of science and I could go through a lot college lectures on the different energy systems, but I won't bore you!  So what does it mean to eat to improve metabolic efficiency?   It's a technique to teach the body to use more of its "stored fat" and preserve the limited  "stored carbohydrates".  This is not something that happens overnight.  This must be as routine as your daily workouts to get your body accustomed to this practice.

In aerobic exercise , such as triathlons, your body naturally becomes more efficient at using fat for energy.  Unfortunately, most Americans tend to eat a relatively high carbohydrate diet, specifically simple carbohydrates (breads, pasta, rice, sweets). This stimulates higher amounts of insulin (the hormone needed to carry sugar to cells) to be produced,  consequently decreasing the body's ability to use fat for energy.  By manipulating the types of food one eats you can train the body to make less  insulin and enhance the use of fat for energy. This improves  endurance and increased performance.

So how can you become more metabolically efficient?  Here are some idea's:               

1)      Eat more fruits and vegetables, should be   a minimum of 45% of your caloric intake.

2)       Avoid simple (sweets)  and refined sugars.  Avoid products with added sugar, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.

3)      Eat lean sources of protein (poultry, fish, lean beef, lowfat dairy, soy).

4)       Eat small amounts of  whole grains such as brown rice, legumes, whole grain breads.

5)      Eat "healthy fats" such as nuts, avocados,  olive oil and olives.

These are only a few suggestions, but if you are ready to take your training to the next level I recommend  Bob Seebohar: Nutrition Periodization for Athletes for detailed explanations and understanding of Metabolic Efficiency.

Happy Training!


Runner's Profile
 by Erika Smith
Aaron Runyon - Runner Profile



Five years ago, Aaron rediscovered his love for running. Since then, he's clocked many impressive times, including placing first overall at the 2012 Seaside 5k in a time of 17:40 (that's a 5:42 pace!). Aaron credits his super-star runner wife, Jeannie Runyon, with bringing him back to the sport of running. Aaron laughs that Jeannie "literally made me" lace up his running shoes again and he's grateful that she did.

There are many different reasons why Aaron enjoys running and these reasons are constantly changing: "Sometimes, it's for the discipline and satisfaction of training for, and completing, a race. Sometimes I run to win. Sometimes it's for the joy that comes simply from moving. Sometimes it's to see the sun rise, explore a new trail, or to truly test my limits." Aaron also runs because he has a passion for coaching and a desire to share the joy of running with others. For Aaron, running is not only a sport or hobby, it's a lifestyle with the power to create social change and transform communities.

Aaron is a trail runner at heart. His favorite local races encompass the full spectrum of the PRA's trail races, including the Membership Run, Cross Country Run, Bay to Breakfast, and Bear Lake. He also has fun racing on the road at the Double Bridge Run, Gulf Coast Half Marathon and the PRA's Pensacola Beach Half Marathon (where he placed third overall this year with a time of 1:25). His favorite out of town events include the Seaside Half Marathon and 5k and the Ashland 4th of July 10k in Ashton, Oregon. Aaron jokes that his upcoming races plans include avoiding racing in the summer heat. However, the inaugural Blackwater 50k in December is definitely on his list.

When he's not running, you can find Aaron strength training, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, and eating great food to replace all of the calories he burned during his workouts. Raised just outside of Portland Oregon, not surprisingly, he enjoys virtually all outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, camping and traveling. Aaron describes himself as a "yes to life kind of person, up for whatever comes along"...those of you who ran the Pensacola Marathon this year can attest to that, as you saw Aaron decked out in vintage 80's attire while volunteering at the PRA's 80's themed water stop (PRA Fun Fact: The PRA won the prize for best water stop this year!).

Aaron is a graduate of FSU who met his wife, Jeannie, while attending a graduate program at the university. Fortunately for our community, the couple found jobs here post-graduation and have been very involved community members ever since. Aaron is a middle school English teacher and volunteer coach for a youth running club. He and Jeannie are also newly elected members of the board of the Pensacola Runner's Association. Be sure to look for Aaron and Jeannie at the upcoming PRA races!


2012 Lou Gregory Award Recipient
 by Jehan Clark 
Charles Gheen  




2012 Lou Gregory Winner Charles Gheen


This was a very exciting year for me to be able to present the Lou Gregory Award at the Fiesta race as President but even more exciting considering how deserving the recipient was.


The Lou Gregory Spirit Award is given to a runner who has demonstrated great leadership and enthusiasm in helping to promote and maintain the sport of running in the Pensacola community. The Lou Gregory Award is named in honor of Pensacola's most famous runner. Lou Gregory placed 10th in the 1932 Olympics 10K. Although he has passed away, he still holds National and World Records in his age group and won hundreds of races. In 1932 Lou placed tenth in the 10,000 meters in Los Angeles. He was a world-class runner in the 30's and 40's winning 19 National championships and placing second in the 1941 Boston Marathon.

After he moved to Pensacola he began his second career as a master's runner where he rewrote the record books setting scores of age group records. One accomplishment was a time of 43 minutes in the 1976 Fiesta of Five Flags 10K at the age of 76.

Locally Doc was the long time coach and teacher at Pensacola Junior College.

His track and cross-country teams won 10 state championships over an 18 year period. He retired in 1975 and died in 1989.

Nominees must be members of the PRA. They do not need to have served on the board, but must have made a major contribution to the PRA or to the running community at large. This contribution should have occurred over a long period of time and not just for one year, unless the contribution was of such a scale as to warrant immediate recognition.

Past winners have been:

1979 - Farrell Stearns                       1980 - Ray McClean

1981 - Ken Cole and David Seiler     1982 - Dennis Stevenson

1983 - Bill Simmons                          1984 - Tim Edwards and Mollie Gonzales

1985 - Huey Pearson                        1986 - Clay Sanford

1987 - Stuart Towns                          1988 - Joyce Blackwelder

1989 - Lou Phipps                             1990 - Don McCloskey

1991 - Steve and Sandy Crane         1992 - John Tomaio

1993 - Rick Sasser                            1994 - Ann Knight

1995 - Larry Parks                             1996 - Carolyn Reeder

1997 - Dan Keely                               1998 - Gene Turnipseed

1999 - Mike McCartan                        2000 - Tad Dobbs

2001 - Gary Bunde                             2002 - Janet Boylan

2003 - Bob Kelly                                 2004 - Ted and Grace Ruckstuhl

2005 - Ray Yarbrough                        2006 - Susi Lyon

2007 - Barb & Andy Williams             2008 - Pat Judd

2009 - Glenn & Nancy Windham       2010 - Mary Enfinger

2011 - Lee & Carol Wright                 2012 - Charles Gheen


This award is steeped in history and tradition and creates such great memories of the early athletes that ran to run, no balance and stability shoes, Gu packs, and technical clothing. And these same people had such a belief in the sport that they devoted much of their non-training time back to the sport by mentoring, teaching, and putting on events. This years recipient could not have been more deserving. As I was making my speech when presenting the award the list of contributions to the PRA and our sport was so long I quit partially through and just had him come up on stage. It was great to see some of the previous recipients there at the race and on stage to welcome him to this prestigious club. Several past recipients have contacted me and wish to be more involved in the future of this award process and I hope they do. It will be great if the 2013 recipient is greeted by a stage full of others who have shared in this great honor. I know in the past, former recipients and the current year recipient would throw a little get together outside of Fiesta to socialize and celebrate this award. I hope that tradition will come back as well.

For any of you that may not actually know Charles here is a short list of some of his contributions to your organization and sport.

  • Past President, Vice President, and Secretary for the PRA
  • Current Board of Directors member for the PRA
  • Responsible for the Fiesta 10k being named the RRCA State Championship 2 years in a row and RRCA Southern Regional Championship 1 year
  • Race director for the 2009 Double Bridge Run
  • Elite Athlete Chair for the Double Bridge Run
  • Race Director for the Gulf Island National Seashore Fight to the Fort
  • 2009 PSA Volunteer of the Year
  • Chairman of the 2010 PSA Pensacola Marathon
  • Race Director Santa Rosa Island Triathlon
  • Past President Tri Gulf Coast
  • The list goes on but if you have not noticed he is "that guy" that is always helping at every PRA race both large and small, even if it just means picking up the trash afterwards for one he has been able to participate in.

Next time you see Charles at an event make sure you congratulate him, and while you're at it you should probably thank him because more than likely he had something to do with the organization of that event.


Issue Number 18

June 2012

In This Issue
Bear Lake Trail Challenge
Advice from TGC
Runner's Profile
Lou Gregory Award
Select Physical Therapy
Enjoy the Walk

Mission of the PRA:

The Mission of the Pensacola Runners Association is to promote, support and develop running and racing along the northern Gulf Coast. Our objective is to provide information, education, training, social and sporting events for competitive and non- competitive runners and walkers of all ages, races, genders and abilities.

Quick Links


LuLu'S HOT TROT for ARC  Saturday June 16, 2012  ***7:30AM***  5K Run & Race Walk and 1Mile Run


 LuLu'S Gulf Shores, AL 
   7:30AM 5K run/walk


By Robertsdale Rotary Club Through Robertsdale Rotary Foundation (501�3) entity Benefit Association for Retarded Citizens of Baldwin County Where LuLu's at Homeport Marina Gulf Shores, AL When Saturday June 16, 2012



1 Mile after 5K is completed Fee $20 Postmarked by June 4, 2012 $25 after 6/4/12 Students (K-12) $15 prior to 6/5/12 Pick-up Friday 6/15/12 2PM to 6PM at LuLu's Day of 6:00AM day-of registration and packet pick-up


Race, Run Club or Training Photos... Send them to us!

We Want to Publish Your Pictures!

Please send us your photos from running and racing in the area for inclusion in upcoming editions of the Rundown.  Also send comments, suggestions or articles to:

Promotional Rates

If you'd like to have an event promoted in an upcoming issue of The Rundown, contact us at for our rates.  We can add a link to your on-line registration, a link to your race application download, an article, or simply a mention in "Upcoming Races".

Select Physical Therapy Offers FREE Sports Injury Hotline
Melissa McShan



Medical Research: Fact or Fiction?

Purchase any health magazine and you will be bombarded with statistics about what you should eat, what exercise is best, or what chemicals cause cancer.  Even my own mother considers herself an expert on all things health related based on the stories she sees on the popular news show "20/20".  With all these numbers and new discoveries it is easy to get confused about what you should be doing to feel your best.

What can be even more frustrating is it seems as though the researchers keep changing their mind about what is fact or fiction.  Case in point: For many years, there was a general agreement in the running community that running shoes with a good insole were a vital tool for injury prevention.  However, in the last decade there have been many articles, studies, and anecdotes about the benefits of running barefoot.  So which way is the better way?  How can you tell which studies are legitimate fact and which are questionable?

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you assume that what you are reading (or watching) is true.

1.   Who performed the study?  Have you ever noticed that every brand of toothpaste tells you that "4 out of 5 dentists" recommend it?  Studies and surveys are often funded by companies looking for an outcome that reflects favorably on their product.  Usually the people performing these studies are aware that they are expected to provide a certain outcome, and they sometimes use bias to skew their numbers.  In other words, don't stop buying Nike shoes just because a study funded by New Balance said their shoes are better.

2.  Does X really cause Y?  Trends and relationships found in populations are always topics for discussion.  For example, a scientist noticed that female runners over the age of 55 seem to have more stress fractures than the general population.  He concluded that running was not a safe activity for females over the age of 55.  What's wrong with his logic?  He failed to explain how running is the cause of the injury.  He never proved that there was a direct cause and effect relationship between running and injury, and he failed to take into account other influencing factors like bone density, previous fitness level, overall general health, and rates of injury for other female athletes.

3.  How many people participated?  Let's say your favorite fitness magazine recommends singing for ten minutes before running to improve your VO2 max. It would be wise to determine how many people this has worked for before you begin belting out the Star Spangled Banner in front of your running club.  Was this recommendation made because the eight writers at the magazine tried this for a week and had good results with it?  Reputable studies are repeated over and over with large groups of people (think hundreds or thousands) before outcomes are determined.

4.  Were the participants actually people?  Sometimes scientists get so excited to tell you about their work that they jump the gun and reveal results that may or may not prove to be accurate over time.  Just because lab rats had a certain reaction to a new supplement does not guarantee that you will have the same reaction.

5.  What's the real risk?  The media will often talk about "risk". Example: you have a 1 in ten million chance of catching X. Research shows that drinking tea doubles your chance of catching X. This creates a great headline: 'tea-drinkers at twice the risk of X'. But what does it really mean? Doubling the risk means the chance is two in ten million or one in five million. In other words although the relative risk has doubled, the absolute risk is still very, very small. 

Hopefully these five tips will help you as you try to sift through the fact and fiction of medical research.  Never go against a doctor's recommendations, no matter what the news is reporting, and when in doubt, ask for clarification.

If you have any questions related to a specific running injury, or if you have a topic you would like to learn more about, please email me at





Photo Contributions


Avalon Running Knights



Avalon Running Knights





Avalon Running Knights






Enjoy the Walk

with George Throop


On September 20th, 2009, George Throop, began a multi-year pilgrimage of inspiration. He is walking thousands of miles across America, from Washington State to Washington, D.C. Taking countless steps across America, he hopes to inspire you to take positive steps towards personal growth in your own lives.







Pensacola was fortunate to walk with George on his journey.



Follow George Throop as he walks across America to promote a healthier lifestyle and raise awareness of cancer and other diseases.






































Until next month issue... Happy running!