Women Can Run, a free women’s running and walking clinic, will begin meeting March 1 to train for the 13th annual Women Can Run/Walk 5k celebration event to be held May 8. 

The first clinic will meet at the track at Conway High School’s John McConnell Stadium at 6 p.m.

Thirty-four clinics statewide will converge in Conway for the 5K event after 10 weeks of training. The event is open to both participants and non-participants of the clinic. 

Codirector Moe Schafer said the clinic suits all levels of fitness for women.
Three different groups are available at each clinic. A running group with levels from completely inexperienced runners to advanced runners is available, as well as intermediate walkers and a group who walk at a slower pace.
“Ladies can come out and learn how to walk faster, advanced walkers learn to power walk,” Schafer said. “Ladies who have run before learn how to run faster and with more endurance. Advanced walkers will work on speed and heel work.”

Kathrine Switzer, who has been active in women’s fitness since 1966, will speak at a pasta dinner, slated for the Agora Center on May 7. Switzer offers inspiration to women, having finished the Boston Marathon under the name K. Switzer when women were not permitted to enter the race. Switzer will also run the graduation race with participants. Tickets for the pasta dinner will be $15.

In 2009, more than 1,200 women ran in the race, which begins at Conway Regional Health System Women’s Center on College Avenue and travels 3.1 miles in the area.

“We really want women to start moving. Walking is the easiest exercise you can do. We have a lot of different ages,” Schafer said. “Running is wonderful. Especially with a group. Those that feel like they can’t do it, will benefit from this program.”

The graduation race will cost $20 per entry. Prizes are available for all ages. The runner coming in first place will receive a certificate, medal and prize money or a pair of shoes from The Sporty Runner in Conway.

“Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, all kinds of women come. It’s changed everyone’s life for the good,” Schafer said. “Women are amazed at how well they can do it. It’s not about how fast you go, we just want them to know they can accomplish this.” 

For more information on Women Can Run clinics, contact Codirector Jeanne Harvey by e-mail at harvola@wildblue.net or Moe Schafer at moe@conwaycorp.net.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)