Written by Karen Lozano in October 2015
As organizers prepare for the next Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon in March, two ShadowChase Running Club members are hard at work putting together a program for the next round of adults hoping to fulfill dreams and get healthy and fit through running a full or half marathon.
Mike Mason and Susan Taylor are beginning their sixth year as head coaches and program leaders for the Modesto Marathon Adult Training Group. Not only do they help train runners and walkers to cross a finish line a seemingly impossible distance away, they recruit other coaches and mentors to commit to the 24-week program, develop training schedules, offer encouragement and basically serve as head cheerleaders for adults hoping to achieve the impossible.
“Running a marathon or half marathon is not an easy task, and getting people through a difficult goal and a better quality of life is personally satisfying.” –Mike Mason
“I got started because I wanted to see individuals who were not active get moving toward life choices that will forever change their lives,” said Mason. “It changes their lives as they will lead an active lifestyle through coaching and mentoring. Running a marathon or half marathon is not an easy task, and getting people through a difficult goal and a better quality of life is personally satisfying. “
“Coaching is about encouraging and educating others,” added Taylor. “Both are joys for me.”
The goals for the Modesto Marathon Adult Training Group, said Taylor, are to:
*Encourage people to find strength they didn’t know existed, and to believe they are capable of so much more than they thought possible.
*Help members realize earning a marathon medal isn’t about crossing an item off their bucket list; it’s about developing an ongoing healthy life style.
*Help runners understand that each person is different — what works for one on a long run may be an utter fail for another.
“There is so much advice out there,” said Taylor, “and the research changes too!
To help lead the trainees, both Mason and Taylor have completed Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certification, as well as first aid and CPR training. And probably more importantly, they both know what members are going through since they were both part of the very first ShadowChase training group before taking on their leadership roles.
“Being a runner, and knowing the physical and emotional aspects of running, is a qualification too,” said Taylor.
“Our goal is to find the ‘perfect recipe’ for each person’s success.” – Susan Taylor
Both have gone on to run many more races, from 5Ks to ultras, in their commitment to lifelong fitness.
“The best thing that has happened to me in the group is that it is ongoing,” said Mason. “For me to see how our trainees bring others along the journey is an awesome experience every time I see it happen. The good news is it happens all the time!”
“Celebrating each new ‘longest distance’ and milestone with our team is gratifying,” explained Taylor. “One mile becomes 5, 10, then 13.1, and 26.2. The support we ALL have through ShadowChase’s members is unmatched! It’s so rewarding when last year’s trainees return as mentors, such as Liz O’Herin, Jennifer James, Shane Jones, and Joseph Dostie, and previous mentors such as Susana Perez and Christina Stromeyer continue mentoring. We will certainly miss our #1 encourager, Craig Wood, and appreciate being able to continually lean on Jeff Lozano to tap into his depth of running knowledge. It takes a large number of committed individuals to make this happen, and we have the passion to make this a success. “
Jones said it was the support through our coaches and mentors, that has been a crucial part to his running success. “The support I got from everyone made the journey to my first marathon so enjoyable and the friendships I built have been everlasting!
“Mike has a wealth of knowledge from his many years of running. He is always there to answer your questions from injury prevention to questions around the right shoes. He was always there for me and my wife Jaynee.”
But Jones said the best thing about Mason’s role is “when he is out on our long runs playing music to help motivate you!” Many can still picture Mason on his bike, pedaling through the park, blaring music in tow and a smile on his face.
Joseph Dostie, who trained for this year’s full marathon, said he knew he was going to need some help to complete that goal.
“The Modesto Marathon Adult Training Group gave me the help I needed. But beyond completing the marathon, I established numerous friendships. This group and ShadowChase in general is such a close-knit and supportive group. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Dostie is looking forward into moving into his new role as a mentor. “It’s going to be extremely fun and motivating to help others achieve their goals!”
Taylor is also looking forward to another year of helping others believe in themselves.
“The person who crosses the finish line isn’t the same person who started.” –Susan Taylor
“There is such pleasure in witnessing the confidence and perseverance people gain from this group and how it transfers to other aspects of their lives. Let’s train!”
For more information, contact Mike Mason at (209) 605-2378 or Susan Taylor at (209) 499-0258. They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All levels are welcome, from beginners to runners to walkers.