Guest Post by Emily Wyonzek..
I started running with Star Runners to get in shape for my wedding in 2011. A friend told me about Star’s group and I knew I needed help, so I signed up for the Couch to 4 Miler program. I went on from the Couch to 4 Miler straight into the St. Jude Half Marathon training and I’m now training with Star Runners for my first full marathon. Not only has Star been great, but the group as a whole is amazing! I’ve met some of the greatest new friends- a true bonus that hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Being a part of Star Runners quickly became less and less about weight loss and more and more about being a runner and part of an amazing group of people (but I DID meet my weight loss goal for my wedding!). Star and her husband Keith have been perfect cheer leaders and are always available to answer questions and offer advice. I have never sent Star an email without receiving a response- and I have sent her A LOT of emails!
I signed up to run the Germantown Half Marathon in March of this year although most of our team ran in New Orleans. It was unseasonably hot the day of the race, and the course had some tough hills and boring long stretches with no shade. I was having a tough race, struggling with water issues, heat, nausea, etc. I knew that Star and Keith were going to be waiting somewhere around mile 10 and at about mile 6 my mantra became, “make it to Star, just make it to Star.” I got to mile 10 and didn’t see them, but at about 10.5, I heard, “GO EMILY!!!!!!!” and saw Star in the middle of the course screaming for me! But it wasn’t just Star and Keith, there were probably 10 other Star Runners there cheering me on- although that day I could have sworn it was more like 30. I was so excited and a little emotional that I wanted to skip to the finish line! A woman next to me said, “Wow- that must feel great to have so many people cheering for you!” The support that my coach and teammates offered me was the perfect boost to get me through the finish line. What a great team to be part of!
Because of Star and Keith Ritchey and Star Runners, I have fallen in love with running. It is the perfect stress relief after a tough week at work I can’t imagine not carving out time in my schedule to meet with this group. Not every run is perfect, but I never regret running it, and getting through it with my Star Runners team mates makes it even better!