The Rundown
PRA photo
From the Top
PRA President, Laura Harris

There are a lot of exciting things going on with the Pensacola Runners Association these days! We have two great races coming up: the Fiesta 10/5K and the Bear Lake President
Challenge. On Wednesday, April 17th, we will be putting on a Fun Run just before the Blue Wahoos game. In a little over a month, a new Board of Directors will be elected at Bear Lake, and we are also working on a new website that will allow us to take membership renewal payments online. Speaking of membership renewals, we are also changing the process, so everyone will renew at the same time of the year... no more wondering if you are current or not. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we will be awarding the prestigious Lou Gregory Award at our Fiesta Post Race Party! You can read about all of these events and changes in the following articles, and we hope to see you at our new and signature events!


Wahoos Fitness Night!


 Have you run around the Community Maritime Park yet? Now is your chance! The Pensacola Runners Association Board of Directors is hosting a "Fun Run" on the night of April 17th in support of the Wahoos' "Fitness Day." The run will take place at approximately 6pm, before the Blue Wahoos take on the Jacksonville Suns at 7pm. Look for our PRA windfeathers for the start line! After the Fun Run on the grounds of the Community Maritime Park, we ask you to join us for the game, where Laura Harris, PRA President, is planning to throw out the ceremonial First Pitch! As of this Rundown's press-time, there are still plenty of tickets available for this Wacky Wednesday event. Your Board will be enjoying the game from Hill-Kelly Hill. Please wear your favorite PRA race shirt and remember to cheer as loud as you can when you see the PRA on the big screen!

Runner Profile
Chris Hicks 
By Erika Smith

As a high school athlete, Chris Hicks wrestled and ran both cross country and track. During his junior year, his life changed more than he ever could have anticipated at that time when he bought a bike. However, cycling was not popular in Indiana and after four years of riding he "put the bike up and never really looked back" until the summer of 2005.


On June 2, 2004, three months after relocating his family to Navarre to join his father's Miracle Ear franchise, his father died suddenly in an accident. Chris explains that he "spent a year not living like I should and dealing with stress and what life had dropped in my lap quite poorly." On June 3, 2005, Chris weighed 215lbs and "couldn't chase my girls around the outside of the house without getting winded. My time in the mirror had come and something changed that day. I bought a road bike and all I could think about was riding." He soon met other cyclists who were triathletes and in 2005, found himself competing in his first triathlon (Destin Crab Trap). Chris today credits cycling with helping him to change his life.


Chris's favorite local race has for years been the Double Bridge Run "because it's long enough that you have to think and short enough that you can still pin your heart rate for most of it." However, his "most incredible" running experience to date was the 2012 Boston Marathon. Although Chris didn't particularly enjoy running when he first began participating in tri's, this has definitely changed over time. Today, running provides Chris "a release and freedom from the stressors of life...Sometimes being alone on the road or especially on the trails can feel magical. I have never come back from any run and said well I shouldn't have done that." The trails on Eglin property off Highway 87 are his favorite place to run and so not surprisingly, Chris has recently started participating in ultramarathons on the trail, including the 2012 Blackwater 50k (his first ultra) and the 2013 Oak Mountain ~50k (it's rumored to be about 34 miles). I had the pleasure of running with Chris at Oak Mountain and was impressed by what a gracious person he is - he personally thanked each and every volunteer who we encountered at the aid stations and greeted every cyclist and runner who we passed on the trails.


Not surprisingly, when he's not running, Chris can most often be found cycling or swimming. Since he completed his first triathlon in 2005, he has competed in three Ironman Florida events (2007, 2009 and 2011). At IMFL 2011, Chris improved on his 2007 time by an astonishing nearly four hours! Chris jokes, "I've always said that if you could bottle that feeling of crossing the finish line (at Ironman) it would be the most potent drug in the world." While Chris describes IMFL as the "biggest and best overall experience", his preferred race distance is a "tie" between the Olympic distance and half Ironman. But most of all, he wants to have fun, no matter what the distance.


Chris is a member of the board for Tri Gulf Coast. His primary role has been to coordinate the kit program since its inception in 2010 and he also assists with the "Mere Mortals" training program. Chris explains that although he enjoys training and racing, his "number one" priority is his family. He and his wife of 19 years, Debbie, and their daughters Lindsi (13) and Madeline (11) love spending time at the beach - "zipping around on the jet ski, sneaking our two labs out into the water and just watching the waves come in." Chris shares that he feels very fortunate to have the support of his wife and that he would like to thank her for everything that she has done over the years to make it possible for him to race to the extent that he has enjoyed.


Chris's upcoming race plans involve competing in several local triathlons, including Sandestin, AL Coastal, and SRI TRI, as well as Augusta 70.3. He's also looking forward to running the Blackwater half marathon in a few weeks and one or two 50k's this fall/winter. Because Chris is one of those amazing runners who enjoys and excels at all distances, whether it be a triathlon, road race, or trail run, you will surely be able to meet him at one of the upcoming races in our area!


PRA Membership Renewals

Don't forget, we have instituted a new PRA membership renewal plan and you can re-new now. One of the most frequent comments we, on the Board of Directors, hear regularly is "I can't remember when my membership expires" or "Am I still an active member of the PRA?" If you are one of these people, we finally have an answer to this problem. Beginning now, we are transitioning to an ANNUAL renewal for all... meaning that everyone's membership will run from July 1st to June 30th of the following year. This will make the task of membership renewal so much easier for current and future Boards, and it will be much easier for everyone to remember the one date instead of your personal anniversary of joining. Our prices are the same: $15 for an individual, $20 for a family. If you have signed up in recent months, or if you sign up before July 1st of this year, you will automatically be an active member until June 30, 2014. All other extensions will be handled on a case-by-case basis if you'd like to contact We sincerely hope this reduces some of the confusion of the past couple years and hope you'll consider renewing today!

Bear Lake 4 Mile Trail Challenge

So many runners have come to love the Bear Lake Trail Challenge; and what's not to love?!? It's not your typical run - it's a challenge! Word is out that there is potential for a little more water and/or mud then there has been in the past! Bear Lake Trail Challenge is a 4-mile trail run around Bear Lake of Blackwater State Park in Munson, FL. This year's event takes place at 8 a.m. on May 18, 2013. The first 250 registrants will receive a tank - perfect for a run, a hike or a beach day! While the runners enjoy varying terrain, up and down hills, across bridges, over streams and swamps, the volunteers will be barbequing hotdogs and hamburgers for the post-race party, along with all of the fixings and dessert. As always, runners will receive their much-deserved awards in each of the age-group award categories! Come on out, run fast, and win yours! This race also represents the annual meeting for the Pensacola Runners Association. During the post-race party, new board members will be elected. All members will be celebrating another successful year for Pensacola Runners Association under the guidance of the current Board President, Laura Harris, as she turns over her title. You won't want to miss the 2013 Bear Lake Challenge!


Haven't registered yet? It's not too late to register! You can:   


  1. Log onto and search for Bear Lake Trail Challenge.
  2. Mail in your registration form (found at by 5/10/2013.

Once you're registered, don't forget to come pick up your packets on Friday at Pensacola Sports Association's office (101 West Main Street, Pensacola) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. or the morning of the race at the Bear Lake picnic house from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.


See you there!


Fiesta 10K/5K and Sunset Stampede 5K
2012 Fiesta 10K Start
2012 Fiesta 10K Start At PSC

On May 4th you don't want to miss out on one of the greatest races around. What makes the Fiesta so great?

  • Point to point race through beautiful Pensacola
  • prize money to top 3 male and female runners in 10k
  • tech t-shirts,
  • medals for 10k finishers
  • fun filled post race party with food, drinks and Class X band
  • Each participant gets free same day pass into the Fiesta of Five Flags Crawfish Festival!!

What more can you ask for? We hope to see each of you at the starting line!


Come for the run! Stay for the fun!


If you do not want to run but would like to volunteer please email us at We always need volunteers!

Chasing Pre
By Charles Gheen

In the course of a recent Runners World article, Steve Prefontaine was labeled as the Most Influential American Runner ever. It was a rambling article that was not particularly well done, but it did contain some cogent information about the timeless running icon. The article was wrong, of course, dead wrong. Pre is the Most Influential Runner, regardless of nation, ever.


He still has an impact on American and foreign runners alike - 38 years after his death. People from around the world still travel to his grave in Coos Bay and to the site of his death on Skyline Drive in Eugene. In the mid 90s a documentary ("Fire On The Tracks") on his life was shown on national television and two major movies ("Without Limits" and "Prefontaine") about him were released a few years after that. Every year a stellar international field is assembled at the Prefontaine Classic to compete in one of the great track meets in the world. T-shirts emblazoned with "Go Pre" or "Stop Pre", the "Oregon" singlet he wore and many posters and pictures are still hot sellers. Runners are still inspired and intrigued by his image, his fire and his words such as "A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts" or "somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it". Bravado? Yes, but they are the types of words that we Americans hold on to with a strong, tenacious grip.


Pre is one of those legends who died young, but he's not James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain or the like - he hasn't been enlarged in death more than he was in life and his accomplishments haven't been enhanced over what they actually were. Yeah, he was the brash 21-year-old kid who went to the 1972 Olympics predicting victory in the 5000 meters and finished 4th. He raced against older, much more experienced runners who ran a strategic race while he pushed the pace, took the lead early and fought the entire field off on pure guts. Much more important are his numbers as a collegian at Oregon:

  • for five years, no American could beat him at any distance over a mile;
  • he was the first track athlete to win four straight NCAA championships;
  • he won the NCAA Cross-Country championship three times;
  • he set 8 American records between 2000 and 10000 meters;
  • he held all 8 of those records simultaneously
  • his Olympic trials 5000 meter record stood for 40 years;
  • his three-mile and six-mile records still stand

Pre was one of the first employees and the "face" for a new shoe company called Nike. It became the largest and most influential sports company in the world. To this day "Pre Lives" banners and posters are found in running stores around the country, from Boulder to Atlanta, from Seattle to Boston, from San Diego to Miami. More than 1000 runners assemble in Coos Bay in September every year for a memorial 10K that ends on his high school track. Nike still airs national commercials that feature Steve Prefontaine.


Next month in the May Rundown, we will take a closer look at Pre's Oregon, where he lived and where he passed away.




Issue Number 28
April 2013
In This Issue
Wahoos Fitness Night
Runner Profile
PRA Membership
Bear Lake Trail Run
Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K
Chasing Pre
Select Physical Therapy
Tri Gulf Coast
Lou Gregory Award
Walk In My Shoes

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

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.  Send comments, suggestions or articles to:

Promotional Rates

To have an event promoted in 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



Select Physical Therapy would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the PRA members who have given Select Medical the opportunity to provide healthcare and physical therapy services to you this year. We hope the service and care you have received has been outstanding. We know you have many choices for physical therapy, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you. We have skilled clinicians that are specially trained to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions and sports related injuries. We have several clinicians that are certified orthopedic manual therapists, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning specialists, and Graston certified. We are also proud to have a board certified orthopedic specialist (OCS), a board certified sports specialist (SCS), and 3 certified hand therapists (CHT). We provide runner evaluations using Dartfish software and custom orthotics at our Airport Blvd location. Please see our web site at to see a list of clinics and the services they provide. We also have an injury hotline that is manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week by one of our athletic trainers. If you are injured, whether it is minor or significant enough to require medical attention, we can help you decide the best treatment for your injury. We have an orthopedic surgeon and a primary care MD that will work you into their schedule if need. If you would like more information or are unsure how to manage your injury, call 850-619-2862. Please leave a detailed message, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.


There is a hot debate in the runners' culture as to whether or not stretching is beneficial to runners. It was once stated that stretching helps reduce injury. This has come into debate recently, and I would like to give you some perspective. Some of the newer studies show that stretching before an event can decrease performance. This is for explosive type sports such as sprinting or high jumping and not endurance type sports such a cross country or distance running. We also know that a lack of flexibility will increase the likelihood of injury. With that said, not all people have poor flexibility and need to stretch. If you have poor flexibility then obviously you need to stretch in order to prevent injury. So what's the answer? The answer is how you go about stretching and warming up. It is widely accepted in all professional and college sports that the best way to warm up is to take a light jog or bike anywhere from 5-8 minutes. This brings blood to the muscles and gets them ready for work. After you warm up, the best type of stretching to perform is activity specific dynamic flexibility exercises such bottom kicks, high kicks, inch worms, groin swings, high knee's, etc. You can search dynamic flexibility exercises on the internet and several will come up that you can choose from. You want to make sure that you target every muscle group needed in running. Once you have completed your run and you need to stretch or like to stretch, this would be the time to do static stretching (stretching without movement, typically hold time of 15-30 sec). Studies show that you will improve your flexibility more quickly if you statically stretch a warm muscle, and this may reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. If you have any questions, please feel free to call.



Tri Gulf Coast News


Fear is Free
By Christopher Hicks

"Do one thing every day that scares you" - Eleanor Roosevelt


Hands down this is one of my all time favorite quotes.


Have you ever seen the "No Fear" decals in the back window of a vehicle or t-shirt? What a load of crap. Who really has no fear? I'll tell you who. People that live in denial or a shell. Take the turtle for instance. If the turtle wants to eat, move, drink and essentially live it has to stick its head out of the shell. It has to take that chance or die. I love turtles.


Defining your fears and then staring them down affords an individual the opportunity to live. Really live! Accomplishments and overcoming a challenge release endorphins which make us feel good. 


Some fears are small and it is simply a do or do not question. Turning left onto Highway 98 at 2 o'clock on Saturday afternoon can be fearful and it is a matter of completing the task or turning right and making a u-turn. Some of our fears are more complex and require a process to overcome the big picture. For me, triathlon afforded several fears. It was so bad that 2 days prior to the 2005 Destin Crab Trap super sprint I was a mess. I managed to stay that way until pretty much the time I crossed the finish line. My biggest fear was to DNF followed quickly by having to walk the whole run. Ironically the most common fear of the open water swim never crossed my mind. With the other two hurdles on my mind and constantly looking for the nearest port-a-let I never gave it a thought. When I hit the beach and looked around, there it was. Holy crap what am I doing here?!?!? No more trips to the bathroom, it was show time. The race went well and while I would not really call what I was doing running I was making forward progress. With both feet across the finish line the endorphins almost immediately entered my veins. Over! I made it! It was incredible!


Last summer I was involved with Mere Mortals more than I have ever been in prior years. Most Sundays I was parked on a kayak or swimming with a belt. The club had really ramped up the open water swim practice and people were taking advantage of our offering. Open water swim is the most common fear people talk about. It is also the hardest to practice since it is never a good idea to swim alone. We routinely had 100+ people jumping into the gulf or sound. However there were a few that I watched intently. And I think they watched me and every other kayak out there. Two things were obvious. One, the swim was intimidating and two, group open water was not going to make it easier.


In the beginning they hung onto the kayak or in some cases kayaks. Sometimes it would be simply making it one to the next. Sometimes hanging on for a ride in to shore and saying ok next Sunday I'll try again. Each Sunday they just kept coming. Each Sunday their fears were defined and stared down by entering the water. I could see the progress and they could feel it. At the end of the Mere Mortals program each of these individuals were making the swim without issue. I found it incredibly inspiring. It was rewarding to me to watch this process of courage unfold. They were happy to say the least. They had overcome their fears and got to enjoy a few extra endorphins on the way.


We all have fears and left unrecognized they can be life limiting. As long as they can be identified, they can be crushed. When they are overcome we live and we just might find new ones. And so the process starts over.


Define your fears, don't let them define you!  



Lou Gregory Award  
2013 Lou Gregory Award Winner To Be Announced!

Please join us at the Fiesta post-race party for this year's presentation of the Lou Gregory Award! Many months ago, I was contacted by a gentleman doing research on alumni of St. Bonaventure University. The PRA's own Lou Gregory was a graduate of the Class of 1929, and this gentleman was able to provide some facts previously unknown to many of us in the PRA. We are working to create a more extensive biography of Lou Gregory... but in the meantime, we are excited to present the Lou Gregory Award to yet another deserving runner. Here are some impressive accomplishments of the Award's namesake:

1. He is in the St. Bonaventure University Athletics Hall of Fame. He was selected/inducted in 1977.


2. He also is in the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame. (Source is the RRCA website:


3. While he was a cross country runner at St. Bonaventure University, he was a member of a national championship cross country team in 1926, (Junior National Championship), and he won the individual AAU 6 mile championship twice - in 1928, and again in 1929. (Source is from the athletics part St. Bonaventure website: (You'll notice the spelling error on their plaque!)


4. He is one of only seven St. Bonaventure University athletes who became Olympians. (2 in track and field [including Louis Gregory]; 1 in wrestling; 3 in basketball; 1 in team handball).


5. In an archives part of the St. Bonaventure website for scholars and researchers, there is also a picture that was posted a couple of years ago of the Junior National championship team from 1926. (Source:  



Pictured: 1. John Bell 2. Gus Moore 3. Louis Gregory 4. Francis O'Connor 5. John Brenneman 6. John Fitzgerald 7. Francis Mifcovic

Walk in My Shoes

"Walk in My Shoes" Returns to Pensacola


During Sexual Assault Awareness Month


On Sunday, April 21, join the Gulf Coast Kids House and Lakeview Center's Rape Crisis/Trauma Recovery Center as we walk side-by-side with Lauren Book in support of her 4th annual "Walk in My Shoes" event to raise awareness on the prevention of child sexual abuse, promote victims' rights legislation for child and adult victims of sexual violence, and support survivors.  


The walk will begin at 6 AM at the University of West Florida Track and will conclude at 9 AM. No worries if you aren't able to be there at 6 AM - join us at any time that morning to walk as many laps around the track as you have time to complete before you head off to your various Sunday activities. There will also be a complimentary breakfast from 9 - 10 AM

"Walk in My Shoes" is just one of several great events that will be held in our community during April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Also join the Lakeview Center Rape Crisis/Trauma Recovery Center on Saturday, April 27 at 8 AM at Pensacola Beach for their 6th annual "Run for Their Lives" 5k run/walk (please visit to enjoy a morning of racing, live music by James Atkins and Rewind, and the distribution of great door prizes, then head to the Cordova Mall that afternoon to support Gulf Coast Kids House 10th annual Chocolate Fest from 12-3 PM (please visit


What: 4th Annual "Walk in My Shoes" with Survivor/Activist Lauren Book


Where: The University of West Florida Track


When: Sunday, April 21, 2013 -Sunrise Ceremony at 6 AM, Walk 6 - 9 AM


9 AM - Sunrise Breakfast


For more information on Lauren's walk visit and follow Lauren on Facebook!