The Rundown
PRA photo
From the Top

PRA President, Laura Harris President


It's January, so naturally I start to think of the year to come and the changes I'd like to make in my own life. To be honest, there are quite a few. But instead of going on about seemingly ever-present diet and exercise resolutions, one goal of mine is to volunteer more hours. I have been volunteering at the Health & Hope Clinic for a little over a year now. It is a free medical clinic for underserved populations in this area, and, to make it run smoothly, it relies on hundreds of dedicated volunteers. At the end of my "paid" workday, working more hours is oftentimes the last thing I want to do. But in my experience, every time I walk out of the door to go home, I feel so uplifted, with more energy and spirit than when I walked into the clinic. Something about meeting entirely grateful people, receiving otherwise unaffordable healthcare, makes the whole evening so rewarding. I felt this same way after helping on the Pensacola Beach Run course this past Saturday. To see everyone accomplishing goals, cheering on friends, and socializing on a beautiful January morning, well, what could be better? We are always looking for more help at our races, so if you'd like an easy and rewarding way to volunteer this year, we will be happy to have you. Happy 2013!!!

Happy running!


Laura Harris 

2013 Bay To Breakfast Run Cancelled

The Pensacola Running Association Board of Directors has regretfully decided to cancel this year's Bay To Breakfast Run. We determined we would have to re-locate when our sponsor's business moved and we no longer had a base for race registration, awards and the post-race party. Moving to the National Park Service's Naval Live Oaks picnic area pavilion was the next option, but scheduling conflicts will not allow our race to be held there. Other possibilities have been explored at length, but were not feasible this close to the event. The Board fully intends to bring the B2B back better than ever in 2014.


Runner's Profile
Erika Smith


by Elizabeth Wiese  


Erika is an amazingly experience and accomplished runner who is almost too humble to recognize herself as an inspiration to other runners. Erika has been runner throughout her life, but never even considered racing until moving to Pensacola in 2003. Encouraged by her friend Kim, she raced the Double Bridge Run as her first race ever. She claims after that she was "hooked", just as many other runners feel after they raced for the first time. She considers herself a distance runner when most of us would call it 'insanity' when you run anything past the marathon distance.

After qualifying at the 2007 Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN she qualified to run the famous 2008 Boston Marathon. This race was just several weeks before, she began running her first Ultramarathon (a 50K) at Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham. She has vivid memories of all her races especially the Boston marathon where she watched the women's Olympic marathon trials and met 2nd place overall Magdalena Lewy-boulet's husband on the street. She also recalls her favorite running related memory completing a solo run across the Grand Canyon (R2R) in October 2011. She ran from the South Rim to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This adventure and accomplishment she credits and thanks the "mentorship and encouragement of the Saturday morning trail running group members including Jay, Pat, Kasey, Jim, and Wayne. She also believes she couldn't have completed the run without the help and support of her boyfriend, Jon, who joined her on this epic journey. Erika is so humbled by and appreciative of the PRA members Gay and Al Ambrosi who also backpacked extensively at the Grand Canyon and were "instrumental in helping me prepare for this great challenge". The photo above was taken of Erika during this race R2R.


Most people may have retired running after such a monumental accomplishment, but Erika continued completing more ultramarathons of various distances including 50k's, 100k's and an multistage race on three mountains outside Chattanooga in June of 2012. Most recently she completed the Northface Endurance Challenge 50miler at Pine Mountain, GA in October 2012 and the Pensacola Off Road Cyclist's EPIC marathon at the UWF Trails in December. As for upcoming races she plans to run at the annual DBR and another 50k at Oak Mountain in March. She wishes to share to those that are interested in running Ultras that Oak Mountain is a great first one to complete.


While she's not running hundreds of miles, she's a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Trauma Recovery Team Leader with Lakeview Center's Rape Crisis/Trauma Recovery Program. She also spends time with a community outreach and awareness program, "Run for Their Lives" 5k run/walk was created in 2008 by Erika. She is so grateful for the continued support from the community with the event and hopes to break the record number of 395 participants from last year.

Erika is proud and gracious of the Pensacola running community. She states "meeting the most wonderful people through running" and how "running has brought such happiness to her life". We all can relate to those words as a runner and as a friend of Erika. She'll continue to run, support and love Pensacola's runner community as we continue to be amazed and in awe of such an amazing runner and woman.

 Pensacola Beach Run
Half Marathon/5K/10K
January 12, 2013
Post Race Report


We have tried over the past few years to continue enhancing this signature PRA race and, although we have had a few bumps in the road, it has continued to get bigger and better. This year even the weather cooperated and we are especially pleased that the committee's hard work and a little help from Mother Nature made for a great day.


Because early registration was very successful, we knew we were on track for a record number of runners and walkers. In spite of the fact that this race fell on the same weekend as another half & full marathon 50 miles away and the Disney conglomeration of distances was also this weekend, we still had our largest field yet and we thank you for it. Athletes came from as far away as Alaska to run in Saturday's race.


Everett Whiteside took the overall win in the Half-marathon and Cynthia Blendermann, from Destin, signed up at the expo Friday night and then came back in the morning to win overall female. We also had some great inspiration when Elliott Smith, an Army veteran who lost most of his right leg in Iraq, chose our 10K as a way to prepare himself for the Double Bridge Run and eventually a marathon. He has a very inspiring story and it was great to watch as he crossed the finish line, obviously so happy and pleased with his accomplishment.


As the Race Director, I was stopped many times Saturday with compliments, thanks and pats on the back. There is no way a race of this size and quality could have come off the way it did without the unbelievable committee that helped put it all together and without over 100 volunteers who made it happen. Speaking of volunteers, we had some new and immensely helpful groups this year from the Pensacola Young Professionals, UWF Cross Country Team, Gulf Breeze High School Wrestlers, and the Pensacola Home School SGA. Those, along with our great pool of Capt'n Fun Runners volunteers, made all the hard work a lot easier. In addition to great volunteers, we could have never put on a race of this size without some very helpful sponsors. We want to thank Mediacom, Publix, The Grand Marlin, Dr. Jennifer Murray of the Medical Center Clinic, Run With It, Papa's Pizza, the Sandshaker, and Vince Whibbs Automotive Group. We would also like you to thank them by doing business with them when you can. I could go on and on about some of the great things that happened this year, but, if you were there, you got to see them first hand and, if not, don't miss next year's race, January 11th 2014!!!





Issue Number 25
January 2013
In This Issue
Runner's Profile
Pensacola Beach Half
Select Physical Therapy
Tri Gulf Coast
Jim Harrington Award

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

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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:

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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
Melissa McShan

Happy New Year! When most runners think of a sport-specific strengthening program they often focus on their legs, primarily the quads and hamstrings. An often overlooked muscle that can have a direct impact on improving running speed, efficiency, and mechanics is the gluteus muscle. Why don't you make your New Years (running) Resolution to add a few exercises that target your glutes?

Here are a few exercises that you can try doing at home:

  1. Body Weight Squat: Stand with feet shoulder width or wider apart, toes pointing forward or slightly outward. Hold onto a chair for balance, if needed. Squat down, keeping your knees pointed straight ahead, like you are sitting back into a chair. Go as low as you can and hold for 3 seconds before returning back to your starting position. Perform 30 times.
  2. Fire Hydrants: Get on all fours on the floor with your neck relaxed and back flat. With your knee bent, lift your leg out to the side as high as you can comfortably manage (you will look similar to a dog next to a fire hydrant). Hold for 3 seconds and return to the start position. Perform 30 on each leg.
  3. Lunges: Standing with feet hip-width apart, step forward with right foot into a lunge, right knee bent, left heel lifted. Be sure to keep forward (lunging) knee in line with ankle, toes pointing forward, hips square, and torso centered.
  4. Side-lying Leg Lift: Lie on your side with your legs extended out straight. Your lower arm can rest under your head; your top arm can rest on your hip. Lift the top leg up while keeping your hips steady and facing forward (do not rotate backward). Lower down and repeat.
As always, call the Select Injury Hotline if you have any questions or for further information.



Tri Gulf Coast News

A Fine Balance

By Jules Kariher 

One of the great things about triathlon is training for all three sports. I am never bored, there is always somewhere to improve and I rarely get injured. Finding the balance of all three for optimal performance is key.


We tend to do more of what we like or are good at. For me, that is running. Of the swim, bike and run disciplines, running is my favorite -- I can breathe whenever I want, my quads aren't on fire and I like to run fast. I could easily run five days a week, swim two and never sit on my bike. But, I wouldn't be a very good triathlete if I followed that plan.


Many make the mistake of overtraining in the discipline where they are strongest. I always look at the thighs of the girls passing me on the bike and I know instantly if I will see them again on the run. Swimming may be the weakest of the three for most folks, but luckily it is also the shortest segment. My goal, then, is to be good enough to get into T1 (transition one) in the middle of the pack. I am an average cyclist, so I if can hold on to the middle of the pack or even inch up a bit on the bike, I am happy. Then, I run as hard and fast as I can to edge up further in the pack. That race strategy is a good one for me. But, to accomplish it I must focus on balancing all three sports in my training.


The ultimate schedule would be two workouts in each discipline a week -- three a week for competitive triathletes. A BRICK (bike/run) workout each week is also good for triathletes. Like running, each discipline requires speedwork, tempo and long distance workouts to improve performance. My week looks like this during triathlon season: Swim 3X week (Coach John Murray writes workouts that include long, slow swims, short sprints, holding moderate pace on longer distances, descending intervals, hypoxic sets, etc.), Run 3X week with one tempo and one long run, Bike 3X week with one interval session, one long bike and one BRICK.


If I devote equal attention to each discipline, I perform all three optimally and I rarely get injured. Like life, it is all about balance!

Jim Harrington Award

The Pensacola Runners Association's Jim Harrington Award winner for 2013 is Jackie Brown. Jackie has been a fixture in the Pensacola running community for years, previously serving four times as the Race Director of the Fiesta of Five Flags 10K/5K run for and is now in her fourth year as the Chairperson of the Double Bridge Run. In mid-September she underwent her second knee surgery.


Although her procedure was serious, it did not get in the way of her commitment to our local athletic community. Days later she was back directing the registration and packet pickup for the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. With the stringent USA Triathlon requirements, this is a grueling task. On the day of the event, she fulfilled all her registration duties and then directed the post-race party ensuring that over 1500 athletes, volunteers and family members were fully taken care of.  


Managing the local Jeff Galloway training program for over 8 years, she has coached hundreds of people in completing marathons, half-marathons and other races. Immediately after her surgery, and during her physical therapy, she did not miss any training sessions and used first walking and then running in rehabbing her knee. There were many "students" of hers at the Pensacola Beach Run on Saturday watching her receive this award.


"Jackie Brown is a testament to positive thinking. Moreover, her actions show that her love of running and her drive to share this with others makes her worthy of the award named for Jim Harrington," one nominator has stated. We couldn't agree more! Congratulations, Jackie!