By Jessica Frost, RiseVT FGI Program Manager
RiseVT wrapped up another session of Rise to 5K this fall. Led by local running enthusiast, Bill Simmons, the group met for 12 weeks at The St. Albans Bay Park, gradually increasing their mileage. Simmons knows what it is like to be new to running. In 2014, he found himself overweight and struggling with migraines, depression and anxiety. He decided to run a half marathon and finished last, but he kept running, gaining speed, lost 80 pounds, started feeling great and ended his migraines. Simmons loves to get out for a run with brand new runners and help them fall in love with the sport that saved his life.
With the encouragement of Simmons, the Stine Family: Brock, Hillary and their sons, Owen and Parker, joined the Rise to 5K group. Brock and Hillary were both brand new to running. Brock played many sports growing up, but never took on running. Hillary never considered herself an athletic person and didn’t think that she could run. As their interest piqued, Hillary says, “I started asking Bill all kinds of question about running and Bill asked me to join the Rise to 5K with him.”
Both Brock and Hillary built endurance over the 12 weeks. Brock says, “I jumped right in on 3 miles, but I thought my legs were going to fall off. I stopped and walked every now and then. Now I can run up to 6 miles nonstop.” Hillary found her motivation during the isolation of COVID-19. “I started walking a lot when COVID-19 happened because I was doing a lot of bored eating and gaining quite a bit of weight. The isolation was driving me bananas.” On her first run, Hillary had to walk a lot and she struggled to find a breathing pattern. She adds, “Now we are at 6 miles nonstop and I can breathe!”
Both credit group runs to keep them motivated and supported. Aside from the Rise to 5K, the family joined weekly Monday races at Arrowhead Golf Course. They also love how they feel after running and are enjoying the health benefits. Brock has a physical job, but says, “I have managed to lose 25lbs by just adding running 3 times a week, which is between 9-13 miles a week.” Hillary has found herself at her goal weight and feels great. She says, “I started to run and then a friend of mine suggested that I cut out flour and sugar which worked! Not to say that I don’t spoil myself every now and then, but it’s only a treat.”
Check out what else RiseVT is doing in Franklin Grand Isle communities at fgi.risevt.org and the Facebook page “RiseVT – Franklin and Grand Isle Counties”.