The Rundown
PRA photo
From the Top
PRA President, Courtney Peterson

At this point you may have noticed that we did not hold the Veterans Run this year during the week of Veterans Day. The decision was made not to hold the run this year because we lacked a race director and the volunteers to produce the event on a professional level as you would expect. However, the planning is under way to bring this race back in 2011 and with much greater participation by our military. It's better to do 9 events really well than 10 average events while burning out volunteers and disappointing participants. We want to be sure everyone involved feels that coming out to the PRA races are worth your time and money.

On that note, we have two great PRA runs coming up in the first two weeks of December, the Cross Country 5k and the Christmas Parade Dash. I'm going to go out on a limb and personally promise you that the weather for the Cross Country run will be better than it was last year. Why?  Because it couldn't possibly be as cold as it was last year.  But, in the off chance that it is a little chilly, we'll be sure to have some hot coffee to warm you up after the run.  The Christmas Parade Dash will be even more fun this year with a great premium given out to each participant. Even Runner's World magazine chose to highlight this race in their December issue because of the unique race premiums. Be sure to go to the PRA website and fill out your registration forms now so we can properly plan for these events.

Your board is working hard to improve your membership in the PRA and we appreciate your feedback (good or bad) to let us know how we can improve your experience while being easy on your pocketbook. Please take a moment to thank your board this month for the countless hours they take out of their work schedule and weekends to make running in Pensacola as fun as possible.

Best regards,

Courtney Peterson

Run, Walk, Scamper the 2010 Christmas Dash by Susi Lyon

 Register now for the Pensacola Runners Association Christmas Dash and you will be one of 400 to get special lighted Elf Hats.  Join other Elves, Reindeer, Snowmen and Runners of all ages, shapes and sizes in this annual one mile run that kicks off the Annual Downtown Christmas Parade.  Eager spectators lining the parade route will cheer on the participants as they make their way east on Garden Street, north on Palafox Street to Wright Street then down the home stretch on Palafox to the finish at Plaza Ferdinand.   Runners are encouraged to dress in Holiday costumes.  The actual race starts at 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 11th on the corner of Spring and Garden Street.


Elf Hats listed as "Best Schwag" in the December issue of Runner's World Magazine.


Three important changes this year will add even more Holiday Spirit.

1) There will no shirts just year.  Instead you will get a red and green Elf Hat with blinking lights to wear as you make your way down Palafox Street.

2) The entry fees have been cut in half! Kids 12 and under can register for just $5 and the most it will cost big kids is $10!

3) The school with the most participants signed up before December 1 will win a $250 dollar cash prize!  Remember: parents, relatives, brothers and sisters count.

There are no age group awards; everyone wears number "2010" and all registered finishers get a special Candy Cane treat from Santa's helpers. 


How do you get in on all the Holiday Fun? 

1) Go to, print the entry form and drop it in the mail.

2) Stop by Running Wild on East Cervantes Street to register.

3) Wait until packet pick-up from 2 to 4 on Saturday, December 11 at the Dog House Deli on Palafox Street.....although you might miss out on getting one of the 400 Elf Hats.


Questions?  E-mail


Santa's Helpers Wanted! 

Come out and help us with the most fun (and least stressful) event of the year.  Volunteers are needed for the following duties:


Elf Hat pick-up and late registration:

  Friday, December 10 from 4 to 7 at Running Wild

  Saturday, December 11 from 2 to 4 at Dog House Deli

Candy Cane Distribution

  At the finish line at Plaza Ferdinand from 4:45 to 5:30

Sponsored Jointly by the UWF Cross Country Team and the PRA 
The December 4th PRA Cross Country 5k event will take place on the University of West Florida campus utilizing some of the extensive trail network that the campus provides.   Last year's race involved a revised course entirely on the UWF Cross Country trails beginning at the multipurpose field.  The trail includes nearly a half mile stretch that had been completely grown over after Hurricane Ivan had made its mark with fallen debris.  The UWF Cross Country teams cleared the trail last November in time for the 5k event, and helped mark the 3.1 mile course for its current and future route.  The race this year will be co-hosted by the PRA and the UWF Cross Country teams.  The terrain includes several mild inclines and unique turns in the form of small loop followed by a large loop connected in figure 8 fashion, and returning thru the small loop to the finish back out in the multipurpose field.  The recently cleared trail is wide enough throughout for adequate passing nearly the entire route.  The course offers a true cross country experience including a bridge over a creek in which runners have the option of running thru the creek or over the bridge.  Last year's event included 52 runners on a cool morning, with all enjoying the newly opened trails.  The course record for the current and future 5k route was a 17:34 by Jared Black for the men and a 22:09 by Beatriz Labrada for the women.  Last years Masters winners were Evan Scott and Tina Hering.
Group Runs

Most of you are aware that the week is full of great groups to run with thanks to the Seville Quarter Milers on Mondays, McGuire's Running Club on Tuesdays, Capt'n Fun Runners on Wednesdays along with others throughout the week. Up until recently, the PRA did not have a weekly run that we sponsored through our organization. Four weeks ago, the first Sunday run was held and has been held each Sunday since at various locations around Pensacola (except last Sunday so we could volunteer at the Pensacola Marathon). Our hopes are that if you already run on Sunday mornings on your own or with others that you consider joining us each Sunday in the future and take full advantage of this opportunity to access more club benefits. We know some of you are training for upcoming races so we asked Brian Casey, a personal trainer, and Coach John Bergen, UWF's Men's and Women's Cross-Country coach, to develop a training program that will work toward future PRA race events. Water and Gatorade is supplied before and after each run.  Also, if enough members are attending these runs, we'll purchase fruit and snacks to eat afterwards.   You can find all PRA Sunday run dates and locations on the PRA Race Calendar on our website (

The PRA is Now Accepting Applications for the Jim Harrington Award

The Jim Harrington Memorial Award was established to commemorate Jim's love of running and the camaraderie that brings athletes together. The Memorial was founded in 1998 to honor athletes who have used running and physical activity to overcome adversity, or to recognize persons who returned to the sport of running after overcoming serious injury or physical illness.


Jim Harrington was a dear friend to the PRA and the running community in Pensacola. Many remember Jim as an accomplished runner who lived by the notion, "The older you get the better you are."


The PRA is now accepting nominations for this distinguished award. Please submit a letter of nomination to the PRA by email to OR by USPS Attention: Jim Harrington Award, P.O. Box 12552, Pensacola, FL 32591) POSTMARKED by December 20th. The recipient will be announced at the Pensacola Beach Run on January 15th 2011. Previous winners have been Mike Hall, Beverly McElwee, Glenn Windham, Ray Yarbrough, Gary Upshaw, Terry Ramos, Brad Donahue, Charles Gheen, Gary Bunde, Thad Kopec, Brian Casey and Jennifer Dutton.

Runner's Profile
 by Erika Smith
Mike Wiggins- Runner



Mike Wiggins began running 35 years ago and he hasn't stopped since. Like many runners, Mike initially began running to lose weight, after giving up smoking. He then found how much he loved the sport and gained a new addiction. His favorite local races include the Double Bridge Run as well as the many 5ks in our area benefiting local charities. He is also a fan of the New Orleans Rock n' Roll Half Marathon, which he completed earlier this year. Mike jokes that the race was "great fun and offered no hills."

            Although Mike was recently spotted running the Seafood Festival 5k, he also has quite the marathon history. For example, he ran his second marathon in just over 3 hours. He also describes his favorite race-related memory as running the famed New York City Marathon. Mike found the race a "spectacular way to see the city and finishing the race in Central Park was the best finish to a perfect running day." Mike relays that today, he runs "more for the fun and not the time."

            Mike describes his wife, Mary Ellen, as an "excellent runner" who is "out the door and running much earlier than I am." I have also heard through the running grapevine that Mary Ellen is quite the distance runner. Mike tells of her accompanying him to New Orleans earlier this year to run the Rock n' Roll Marathon.

            Mike is a Pensacola native. He graduated from Florida State University and then became an officer in the Navy. After returning to Pensacola, he joined his family business, which he continues to run today. He is a member of various community boards and has served on the City Council for over 12 years. He is also currently the mayor of Pensacola.

            When they're not running, you can find Mike and his wife spending time at the beach, reading, gardening, and enjoying their family, including their 9 grandchildren. Mike has also been having fun taking his kayak, a recent present from his children, into the gulf. Be sure to say hello to Mike when you see him at the upcoming races!

Mike Wiggins

Mike out on the Trail.

If I Were Your Coach 
by Mike Bowen

The Big Plan B


That was the low battery warning signal from my (formerly) trusty Garmin 310XT GPS receiver.  The sound was immediately followed by a slight buzz, silence as the receiver shut itself off, and an unprintable comment from my mouth.  I guess it wouldn't have been such a bad thing if not for the fact I was driving out to run a tempo run with the Capt'n Fun group on a Wednesday evening. 


My wife asked, 'do you have a charger in the car?' 


'My charger, unfortunately, is attached to my computer back at the house,' was my reply.  As we continued the 20-minute drive I was stewing in my own juices of stupidity.  I know I put the receiver on the charger the previous evening, so how could this be?  I resigned myself to the thought of going out for what former triathlete (now triathlon coach) Chuck "Chuckie V" Veylupek calls a 'caveman run.'  This would be an acceptable compromise.  I took a deep breath, let it out, and returned to conversing with my wife about life, the universe, and everything.  You know, the kind of stuff married couples talk about when there's nothing else to do...wink, wink, nudge, nudge...


My wife then pulled out her new smart phone to check her voicemail and realized her phone had been off all day.  She had a little trouble turning the phone on and assumed the battery was dead.  I managed to reset it, and then realized, 'hey, these smart phones have GPS.  If I download a run mapping program (like iMapMyRun) I should be able to keep track of the pace I'm supposed to do for this tempo run.'  So, with precious few minutes left before the group was scheduled to leave on the run I tried to download the software.  However, I couldn't get WiFi or set up the phone in time to download.  That's where the ability to "Plan B" a workout is a valuable skill. 


When talking about training I repeatedly have borrowed the John Lennon song line: 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.'  And this is so true as a runner or as a coach.  I can lay out a training schedule in macro for 16, 18, 20 weeks out from a race, but more often than not it's going to get adapted, truncated, or...worst of all...pitched in the wastebasket as life takes hold of the stick and throttle.  Even the micro level of an evening's (scheduled) track workout gets adapted; heavy cranes and lighting equipment, soccer matches and "facility fascists" can take up part or all of the track and leave an inexperienced (or unprepared) runner - or coach - wondering what to do as a "Plan B."


While in a two-year internship with the Navy I spent periods of time ranging from two weeks to two months at training commands.  The assignments had the obvious drawbacks of living out of a suitcase, with access to hotel treadmills, and so on.  But I learned how to adapt my training to the conditions.  During a two-week assignment to Orlando I learned that light poles along this nice long stretch of road near my hotel were set at approximately 50 yards.  So, all I had to do was count the number of light poles for my interval workouts; run three at 5K pace, walk one to recover, repeat six times, jog eight poles...I'm certain you get the message.


Frank Shorter once was quoted as saying 'hills are speed work in disguise.'  So, running up a section of hill or bridge for a period of time (or distance, if you know it!), then jogging easy or walking down can provide a great workout.  A 300-yard hill near the track facility where we train has three points marked on it; if a soccer match is going to keep us off the track for most or our entire workout I can always go down the hill.  Sometimes the soccer matches are not interrupting; I'll do a set on the hill just to break up the monotony.


Training by perceived effort for a long enough period can help a runner develop a sense of pace; after a while you know what a nine-minute per mile pace feels like, as well as an eight-minute pace, and so forth.  The most important thing in understanding pace sense is to know how a particular pace FEELS.  I always marveled at my coach's pace sense when we would go out on easy runs during the weekend.  I had purchased my first heart rate monitor/foot pod combination and was geeking out checking our pace during one run.  He asked me at one point what my heart rate was; I looked at my wrist, then told him, to which he replied, 'yeah, I figured that.  We're at the right pace.'  Sometimes, it is safer to not ask how they do it.  They just do it.  I've got a few paces pretty well nailed down after eight years of training by perceived effort, so I can tell how hard I'm working give or take a few seconds now.


But I don't have a good sense of time, with the exception of swimming in a pool.  I can tell you exactly how long it takes me to swim 50 or 100 yards, even though it feels like forever, give or take a second.  (It must have to do with that love of oxygen.). So when it comes to running a particular period of time at a particular pace I'm doomed if I don't have a watch.  So rather than the planned tempo workout of eight minutes at the pace I need to run a half marathon, two minutes easy, eight minutes at threshold, two minutes easy - repeated twice - I had to adapt.  I decided to count telephone poles; eight at moderate effort, two easy, eight at hard effort, two easy, repeat until the end.


Adapting a workout to meet life's demands:  So simple, even a caveman - or a smart runner - can do it.

 Michael Bowen is a USA Track Level I Certified Coach

PRA Youth Patch Winners

Children 12 and Under who received PRA patches at the Seafood Festival 5K on Saturday, September 25th, 2010:

David Estes - Fernbank Elementary of Atlanta, GA
Philip Estes - Friends School of Atlanta, GA
Leah Struble - Ramsom Middle School

Taylor Ross - Ferry Pass Middle School

Rebekah Gibson - Workman Middle School

Sadiez Locke - West Florida Baptist School

Trenton Porter - Pensacola Christian Academy

Branden Porter - Pensacola Christian Academy

Caleb Hertman - Redeemer Lutheran

Gramm Talbert - Redeemer Lutheran

Victoria Talbert - Redeemer Lutheran

Katheryn Whiteside - Ferry Pass Middle School

Gabriel Moore - West Navarre



Issue Number 4
In This Issue
Christmas Dash 12/11
Cross Country 5K 12/4
Membership Benefit
Nominations for Harrington Award
Runner Profile Mike Wiggins
If I Were Your Coach
Youth Patch Winners
Upcoming Races
Seville Turkey Trot
PRA Cross Country 5K
PRA Christmas Dash
Quick Links
Runner's World says:
"Best Schwag" about the Elf Hats for Christmas Dash registrants.  Register on our web site.

PRA Balance Sheet

 as of 9/30/2010
 Current Assets
Checking/Savings   57,432.50
Other Assets                                     Petty Cash                 200.00
Other Assets                        Inventory                   2335.60
Total Assets          59,988.10
Liabilities and Equity  
Total Liabilities            34.54
 Opening Balance                                Equity                  23,984.12
 Retained Earngs  18,667.80
 Net Income          17,301.64
Total Equity         59,935.56
Total Liabilityes                           and Equity           59,988.10
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Quote of the Month
"The race is not always to the swift... but to the one who keeps running."
Thanks to Evan Scott who says this quote keeps him going during his Ultras.
Got an interesting quip or quote about running in the community, send it in with "Quote of the Month" in the subject line.  If we publish it you could earn a free entry into a future PRA race.