PRA photo
Pensacola Runners Association
Dear Member,
Welcome to the August edition of your PRA newsletter.  You will notice a new look in this months Rundown.  There are two reasons for that:  first, we've gone to an electronic newsletter and second, we have a new editor.  I hope you like the changes we've made.  Our goal is to increase the distribution of the "PRA News" while providing a relavent and fitness forward medium to share information.  As always, your comments, suggestions and contributions are welcome.  Any material for inclusion in The Rundown should be submitted by th 15th of the month preceding publication.  You can contact me at: 
Timo Hartigan, Editor 
From the Top
PRA President, Courtney Peterson

Courtney Peterson
Prez Pic
We are well into the summer and I hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather.  There's nothing like following up a morning run with a trip to the beach or with a swim in the pool. With the temperatures reaching the mid- and upper 90's and heat indices in the 100's, I would like to remind everyone that as you partake in your training runs and local races that you take all precautions to avoid heat exhaustion. Run early in the morning and drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. 

The PRA has some great summer runs coming up in the next few months and I encourage you to come out and participate. The Membership Run will be August 28th at the Equestrian Center and will include some great giveaways for participants that are appropriate for this time of the year. One of the best aspects of this race is that there is no registration fee if you are a current member.  If you are already a member, please mention this race to your friends and coworkers. Let them know if they register for the race, they will also be signed up for a one-year membership to the PRA. As you know, memberships come with discounts on all of the PRA races and purchases at Running Wild as well as access to other great benefits that will be forthcoming.

On September 25th, the PRA will host the annual Seafood Festival 5k Run and Walk as part of the Seafood Festival weekend events.  The race will take place in historic downtown Pensacola and will include a great post-race party that lives up to past years. Of course, we encourage everyone to walk over to the festival afterwards to enjoy some great Gulf Coast seafood. 

As we progress with some revisions to your services in the coming months, please feel free to contact myself or any other officers or board directors about your ideas for member benefits and, most importantly, if you have a little extra time to help volunteer, please let us know (we can really use you).  I'll look forward to seeing you all at the Membership Run! 
PRA Website for Dummies
 by Richard Dickinson

 Info on using the PRA Website
Our PRA website has gone through many changes in recent years.  There are many tools available for runners and walkers to utilize.  In addition to the links to other area running clubs and daily/weekly training runs, there are over 20 links to help members with health issues related to running/walking, training for marathons and ultras as well as links for shopping.  There is even a Race Manual for race director's use!

      One of the most recent changes deals with adding new races to the Race Calendar.  Rather than emailing the PRA, as has been done in the past, one simply clicks on the Race Calendar and then the ADD EVENT icon which will appear on the top right of the page.  Clicking on this icon will open the information page to be completed about the event, which is then submitted to the PRA for inclusion on the calendar.  This is a much easier and quicker process than that of the past, resulting in a more reliable calendar of area events.

      The "RRCA" has a live link on the upper right corner of our home page.  Race results of all PRA races are available from the website, registration forms for PRA races, Grand Prix information and standings, and one can even join the PRA by simply completing and printing the form online.  Don't forget the Message Board.  Are you experiencing difficulties or health issues as a runner/walker?  Are you looking for information about a race or equipment?  Questions and comments can be posted by anyone to our message board.  This is a great source of information for the running community, and can be quite entertaining.

      Want to know when the next meeting is of the PRA Board?  Simply look at the bottom of the page while visiting the website.  This date changes from month to month.  Do you wish to contact a PRA Officer of Board member? Do you want to know the PRA's Policies, or want a copy of the Bylaws?  All of this information and more is available online.   The URL address is  Take some time and explore our website.  It is constantly changing and improving, and is there to keep you informed! 
Runner's Profile
 by Erika Smith
Ben Bogan- Runner
Ben Bogan, aka "Johnny Steel"
Ben's Profile

          If you've spotted a runner decked out in all black technical attire with red cotton socks, blazing through town, then you know Ben Bogan. I cornered Ben for this article following the most recent running of the McGuire's Running Club, which Ben actively participates in on Tuesday nights. In fact, only Derek and Shae Vernier, who organize the weekly runs, have attended the running club more often than Ben has (he has completed an amazing 194 runs there since the club's inception)! Ben also runs at Seville's, Capt'N Fun's, and is a regular with the East Hill Hare and Hounds Running Club.  He competes in virtually every local race and is one of those few people who excel at all distances.

            Ben has always enjoyed running and ran his first race here in Pensacola when he was only 6 years-old. Ben's father, Perk, was an avid runner who scored some very impressive times over the years, including multiple sub 3 hour marathons. Ben's father shared his love of running with him and in December 2006, Ben completed his first marathon in Jacksonville. Ben went on to complete three additional marathons over the next ten months, including New Orleans, Nashville's Country Music Marathon, and the Marine Corps Marathon. Ben's marathon PR of 3:26 was earned in Nashville, although his favorite race is the Marine Corps Marathon due to the historical aspect and amazing views that racers encounter there.  

            Those who know Ben know that he is capable of pushing himself farther physically and mentally in his training and racing than most athletes you will ever meet. In fact, Ben has scared me during multiple training runs and races over the years, as he seems to lack that innate ability to back-off when your body really starts to hurt. For example, Ben was on track to run a sub 3:15 in his first marathon; however, he developed heat exhaustion in the extreme conditions that day and local runner, Jehan Clark, found him stumbling around, dehydrated and disoriented, less than one mile from the finish line. Impressively, after drinking fluids and resting in the shade for about 45 minutes, Ben still completed the race in sub 4 hours!

            Ben shares his love of running with a love of music. Ben is a drummer/vocalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, including the popular 90's punk band "Woodenhorse". Most recently, Ben has played with "60 Cycles of Sound" and at times joins David Dondero, who in 2006 was named one of the "best living songwriters" by NPR's All Songs Considered, alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Tom Waits. In fact, Ben joined David and friends for a several month long tour across the country shortly after Dondero received this honor. I also have to mention that about five years ago, Ben teamed up with local musician Eugene Swank to play drums on what I consider to be my favorite Christmas/Holiday Album of all time.

            Ben is self-employed, owning his own custom metal-design business. You may have seen the impressive metal race awards that were distributed at the Fiesta 5/10k and the Run for Their Lives 5k, which were designed and created by him. Ben is also one of the most humble people you could ever meet. His motto in life is to not take himself, or life, too seriously, hence the red socks.  When he's not running, you can find Ben watching F1 (that's Formula One) car racing, spending time with his friends and family, and having dinner at any of the numerous restaurants in town that offer vegan options. Ben's upcoming race plans include the Bushwacker 5k, so be sure to say hello to him at the after party....just look for the red socks! J

Free for Members, or Run to join

It's that time again... time to thank you, the members of the Pensacola Runners Association!  The Membership 5K Trail Run to is back on the calendar to honor you for your commitment to our organization and the local running community!  If you are a member, the race is free.  The race will again be held at the Escambia County Equestrian Center on Saturday, August 28th at 8:00 am.  If you were there last year, you know these trails are wide and flat, offering great race times and real competition!


Our awards will include best overall male and female as well as best overall male and female masters, grandmasters, and great grandmasters.  Prizes three deep in the usual age groups will be offered as well.


Back by popular demand, a big breakfast will be served at the after-party, including eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc.  Last year we had all kinds of yummy treats for every one and we plan to do the same again!


The first 150 entrants will receive a free swag bag with goodies from our strategic partners and sponsors, so sign up early!  And the PRA member who brings the most NEW members to this event will also win a prize!  Make sure anyone you invite puts YOUR name on the registration form, so you can get credit.


Entry fees are FREE to current members of the PRA, but please mail in or drop off (at Running Wild) a registration form so we can anticipate numbers and get you a swag bag!  For non-members, the entry fee will sign you up for the race, and pay for a one-year membership to the PRA!  The cost is $15 for an individual or $20 for a family.  Membership benefits include discounts on PRA race entry fees, free subscription to our monthly newsletter, The Rundown, and discounts at local businesses, including Running Wild.


Don't forget... if you signed up as a new member at this race last year, it will be time to renew with us!


Packet pick-up will be at Running Wild on Friday, August 27th from 4-7 pm and the morning of the race from 7- 7:30 am at the Equestrian Center.  Registration for the race will stop at 7:30 am on race day.


The UWF Cross Country team will be helping on course again this year, but we can always use more volunteers (who will also receive a swag bag), so please contact Laura Harris at 850-723-5323 or if you are interested in helping.  Specifically, we could use some willing cooks to help make the big breakfast!  As always, you can find more information on this race and any of the PRA races at   
Running Efficiency
 by Brian Casey
... the optimal balance is a stride  rate of 180...

Do you find that your endurance falters towards the end of a longer run?  You may be running inefficiently rather than being undertrained.  To understand what the meaning of running efficiency is, compare a runner to a car.  A car that travels 300 miles at 60 miles per hour and uses 10 gallons of gas is more efficient than a car that travels the same distance at the same speed, but uses 12 gallons of gas.  As runners, we all have limited amounts of energy in our tanks on race day, so how do we run faster or longer within our limited resources?  The answer may lie in increasing your stride rate or turnover. 

Noted coach and exercise physiologist, Dr. Jack Daniels, studied a large number of elite runners and found that their stride rates were usually about 185 to 200 strides per minute.  This cadence did not vary significantly based on race distance.  What did vary with race distance was stride length.  Sprinters had relatively longer stride lengths than did distance runners.  Many back-of-the-pack or middle-of-the-pack runners mistakenly believe that longer strides will improve their race performance.  Since running speed equals stride length times stride rate, in essence they are correct.  But, a longer stride requires that higher push-off forces be generated to propel the body farther through the air.  The increased force needed for a longer stride length will often result in early fatigue during longer races.  Another negative consequence of over striding may be an increased susceptibility to injuries.

Dr.  Daniels' research found that the optimal balance between stride length and stride rate (i.e., running efficiency) occurs at a stride rate of about 180.  To find your stride rate, time yourself for one minute during a run and count how many times your right foot hits the ground.  If your foot hits the ground 90 times per minute, your stride rate is 180.  If your stride rate is lower than 180, try some drills to increase your turnover.  One drill for increasing turnover is the stride-out.  At a track, after a warm-up run and some stretching, do a series of 4-6 relatively hard (about 90 percent effort) timed runs while counting your steps.  If your stride-out lasts for 20 seconds, your right foot should hit the ground 30 times for a stride rate of 180.  After an easy jog the rest of the way around the track, repeat the process.  If your turnover rate is low, concentrate on shorter strides and faster feet until your stride rate is at the optimal 180 foot strikes per minute.  Also, periodically check your stride rate while on your regular training runs to ensure that the drills are helping.

If you maintain your turnover at a constant rate no matter the distance, your stride length will fall into an optimum range depending on how hard you are running.  Since you run harder in a 5K than you do in a marathon, your 5K stride length will naturally be longer.  Decreasing your push-off forces from 5K levels will be necessary to sustain your energy throughout a 10K or longer race and will naturally result in a shorter stride length.  Be sure to include plenty of "race pace" training for your target race length to develop a feel for the effort required to hit your goal time, and simply forget about stride length.  You will soon find yourself humming like a well-oiled machine late in your race as you pass those other runners loping along with huge strides. 
BULLS WITH BATS... or Chicks with Sticks
Running Travelogue by Michael Bowen
 State Representative, Florida (North), RRCA

It is not often I go to New Orleans in a month with no "R" in it's  name.  There's the August trip to do the NOH3 Red Dress thing...after which I kick myself while pulling sweaty red dresses out of the back of my car, asking: 'What in the world was I thinking?' Then I realize I added a too many words to the sentence; I should have said: 'Was I thinking?' Naturally, my wife reminds me it is all in good fun.

This time we went to take part in a variation of a ritual steeped in lore and tradition, immortalized by "Papa" Ernest Hemingway in the last three chapters of his novel, The Sun Also Rises. Someone felt there was a need for another reason to party in New Orleans and the Fiesta de San Fermin en Nueva Orleans seemed as good a reason as any. I never knew the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona was a religious festival, but I guess in a nation as Catholic as Spain nearly everything has religious undertones.

When you have the time to research stuff - between doing real work - you have the opportunity to learn the history and significance of things. I think it makes the experience more meaningful. I found photos and history and even a little bit about Hemmingway's visits at the San Fermin web site:
Bulls are deeply tied into Spanish culture, that much I recall from some multimedia I watched while studying Spanish in college. Somehow, I guess there was some machismo thing going on in the ability to avoid getting stomped or gored by some bull being taken down the main drag to it's eventual death in the bull ring. Not certain where San Fermin falls in, save that he's the patron saint of Pamplona, in the province of Navarre.

During the festival bull breeders in the region send eight of their fighting bulls to die for the pleasure of Spanish aficionados
And the last 800 meters or so of the trip is through the center of town to the bull ring. Barricades abound.  Oh, and a very slippery cobblestone ninety-degree turn near the end. Bizarre to watch a ton of angry hamburger try to take a hard right on cobblestones...slide like he's on ice, and BANG! Into the barrera.

So New Orleans' San Fermin is more kind and genteel. At least for New Orleans. First year's encierro had a few hundred participants and maybe a dozen "bulls," roller derby chicks with horned helmets and whiffle ball bats. This year had approximately five thousand participants & probably a hundred "bulls" from all over the southeastern U.S. The blend of tradition and whimsy is perfect.

The encierro, on July 10, started at the northern end of the French Quarter and finished in the Warehouse District. The event started officially at 8 AM, but if you weren't at the corner of Conti & Burgundy, near the balcony of Three-Legged Dog at 7:05, odds were good you were not going to have a good spot for the beginning of the festivities.

At 7:55, the caretakers of San Fermin's statue marched up Rue Conti, led by a squad of drummers; then followed by a flight of rolling Elvi on mini-motorized scooters. Once San Fermin was installed in his proper place, the Padron, or big boss, stepped out onto the balcony of Three-Legged Dog and gave his welcome. This was immediately followed by the kneeling and invoking of penitents/participants to San Fermin, asking for safe guidance ahead of the bulls. Immediately afterward, we were sent down the course.

The pace was a dawdle, enough for us to think, 'this is going to be an easy little Saturday morning jog in the FQ.' No sooner did that thought cross my mind than we made a left-hand turn through what appeared to be a barricade line of spectators standing in the middle of the street. At that point I looked to the right and it was time to panic. We just turned onto the point of the course where the "bulls" were waiting to be released.

Everyone screamed like a seven-year-old girls. We were immediately transformed into Kenyans at the Crescent City Classic. And behind us we could hear the sound of whiffle bat meeting body part, which made us panic more.  My wife stepped off the course onto the sidewalk. She told me while she thought this was all in good fun she was not in the mood to be whacked in the fanny with a plastic bat.
I soon received the beating of a lifetime, the sort I hadn't received since nearly failing middle school English so long ago.  Some of these girls had a forehand swing to make Serena Williams proud.

One bull and I ended up in the San Fermin en Nueva Orleans version of a Mexican standoff; she lost grip of her bat, which fell to the ground at my feet. I picked it up: Any other time this  would merit payback. However, the second rule of the run, 'Do Not Touch The Bulls,' applied. So, I shook the bat at her, smiled and handed it back.  She responded with a swat and a blown kiss for my reward.

At two blocks before the end the "bulls" quickly realized trying to roll over cobblestones would lead to accidents putting this year's Tour de France to shame, so they lined up and proceeded to beat upon runners who had the folly to run behind them on course. The sound of bats could be heard for blocks around.

I rejoined my wife, who was cooling off at Ernst Cafe'. For a few minutes, we watched runners stage photographed whacks with imported and domestic bulls, and then retired, as Hemingway and his companions once may have, to our hotel room to rest for the afternoon's Fiesta experience.
Issue Number
In This Issue
From the Top
PRA Website
Ben Bogan- Runner
Free- Membership Run
Running Efficiency
Bulls with Bats
Upcoming Races
Please see the article on our Membership Run, set for Aug 28th.  It's free for PRA members... not a member, Pay for the race and become a member for 12 months!
Quick Links
featured article 
Running Efficiency
"Do you find that your endurance falters towards the end of a longer run?  You may be running inefficiently rather than being undertrained.  To understand what the meaning of running efficiency is..."
 by Brian Casey
featured article 
Bulls with Bats
"This year had approximately five thousand participants & probably a hundred "bulls" from all over the southeastern U.S. The blend of tradition and whimsy is perfect."
 by Michael Bowen