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Running club one big famly

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Working out by yourself can be difficult for even motivated athletes, but local cross country runners don?t have that problem. Oak Ridge cross country coach Rob Fairley has had his athletes work out during the summer for many years now, but last year the Trojan Running Club went public and runners from other schools joined the club. This year?s version of the club, which meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to run, began last week and will continue to meet three times a week through Aug. 11. ?Last year was the first really big year when other schools got involved,? Fairley said. ?We particularly had a lot of runners on our Friday run last year at Lake Natoma, but in our first two runs this year on Monday and Wednesday we?ve had about 50 runners out, which was a good turnout. We?re off to a good start already.? The club is open to any high school cross country runner, but Fairley said many times Oak Ridge alum join in the fun, as do parents and even a few middle school runners. Mondays the group meets at Elvie Perazzo Briggs Park at 125 Manseau Rd. and they run on the Folsom Parkway trails. On Wednesdays the runners meet at Dyke 8 in Folsom and on Fridays by Lake Natoma near Bicycles Plus. Runs start at 8:30 a.m. and usually end around 10 to 10:30 p.m. Some athletes choose to run longer distances and thus, are running for extended periods of time. Last year runners from Vista del Lago, Folsom, Ponderosa and McClatchy often joined the Oak Ridge runners and Fairley expects at least the same, if not more, will join this year. ?For us it?s about getting our summer training in,? Fairley said. ?It?s not mandatory, but we started it as a way for our runners to get some training done in preparation for the cross country season. I like to promote the sport and get kids involved so I?m really pleased to see so many kids out there running.? Two of Fairley?s runners at Oak Ridge are among the participants, senior Dusty Armstrong and sophomore Ellie Velez. Armstrong is coming off an injury-plagued track and field season and is looking forward to regaining the form he was in last fall. Velez is one of the top runners on the girls? team. ?The thing I like about the running club is that it brings all the runners closer together,? Armstrong said. ?It?s nice to have everyone out there pushing each other. My goal this offseason is to get back in shape and then work up to a high mileage.? Armstrong was a key member of a Trojan cross country team that won the Sac-Joaquin Section Championship last year. With only losing one runner to graduation, the team hopes to repeat as champs. ?To do it again would be awesome,? Armstrong said. ?We didn?t have our best race at the state meet, so if we could get back there, we?d like to do a lot better.? Fairley added, ?I?m very excited for the boys. We lose Sean (McHone), who we will miss, but we?ve got five seniors back who are motivated and we?ve also got some motivated underclassmen.? Fairley is also looking forward to coaching the girls? team this fall with Velez and Rachel Peterson leading the way. ?The girls are going to be young, but we?ve got a motivated group there too,? Fairley said. ?The boys like the social aspect of the running club, but the girls really like it so a lot of times I have to remind the girls that there?s business to take care of too.?