Participants get in shape, train for run

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    Thousands of people will visit Fort Worth’s hot spots Saturday, but most will be moving too fast to take a snapshot.More than 12,000 participants will hit the pavement in the 28th running of The Cowtown Marathon, a nonprofit event to promote community health and wellness.

    The day will include a 26.2-mile marathon, a half marathon, a three-person marathon relay, a 10-kilometer run, an adult 5-kilometer run and a kid’s 5-kilometer run.

    The course begins in Sundance Square and runs through popular local attractions, such as the Stockyards, the Cultural District and the Botanic Garden.

    Ashley Shannon, a TCU alumna, ran the 10K last year and said she plans to run a full marathon in 2007.

    Shannon, who is now running half marathons around Texas, said she trains by running 30 miles a week with at least one 10- to 13-mile run each week.

    In addition to running, Shannon said, she makes sure to hydrate herself during the week but thinks the most effective nutritional tactics used by racers are mental.

    “Magazines and the hard-core people give you all these guidelines on nutrition, but I think runners just need to do what’s right for them,” she said.

    Nate Steger, a senior economics major, said the atmosphere of the race makes it enjoyable even though it is a long-distance run.

    “With the large amount of people supporting the race from the sides of the roads, it is exciting for the entire time, and you don’t have to worry about getting bored,” he said.

    This year, he will run in the three-person relay with Clay Eiland, captain of the Army ROTC Running Club, and Master Sgt. Gregory Jackson, the senior military instructor in the ROTC department.

    Steger ran the same event last year and said he is sticking with the relay because the 26.2-mile marathon is out of his range, especially on a weekend.

    Running in ROTC has prepared Steger for his 9.8-mile leg of the race, he said, so a training program was not needed.

    Shannon said the course is one of her favorites to run, but that in years past, it has not been timed with computer chips.

    Most races now accurately record time with computer chips that are placed on a racer’s shoe, which starts timing upon crossing the start line and stops at the finish line, Shannon said.

    “Without the chip time, the clock starts for all runners when the gun goes off and the people at the back have to wait until they can get past the start line to actually start running,” she said.

    Joyce Dreslin, Cowtown Marathon media director, said this is the first year every racer will be chipped.

    Some events were chipped in last year’s Cowtown as a trial, and it proved to be highly efficient and accurate, she said.

    Dreslin said cameras are also set up at the finish line as backup for the chips.