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Miller: Never too late to take up sport of running

I’ve always been an athlete, not a runner. It’s one thing to run up and down a basketball court or run the bases in a softball game, but running for an extended period of time hasn’t always appealed to me.

But during the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to assist with the Windmill Whirl 5K Run during the Batavia Park District Windmill City Festival. There’s something very exciting about seeing a first-time runner cross the finish line.

It’s made me think about what it would take to get started. You might say “just start running,” but there are a few key things to think about before hitting the pavement. According to Caroline Cayton of Dick Pond Athletics, it takes two items to get started: a good shoe and a good sock.

“We’ll analyze your foot on the treadmill and suggest a type of shoe for your foot type,” Cayton said. “You can try on different brands and decide which feels the best for you.”

The sock is equally as important in running.

“Some people think they can put on a cotton sock and hit the road running, but that’s not the case,” said Cayton, “Cotton absorbs moisture and will keep your foot wet during your run. A nylon blend will wick away moisture, keep your foot dry and form to your foot so your sock isn’t moving around inside your shoe.”

Once you’re fitted with the proper gear, you’re ready to hit the road or treadmill. Nancy Meaney has been a personal trainer for more than 30 years and has trained people at all levels, from housewives and senior citizens to college football players and tri-athletes. She recommends new runners start outdoors rather than indoors on a treadmill.

“When you’re outside, you have markers to look for to keep you running farther. For example, you can set a goal to run to the next mail box or the next street corner,” Meaney said. “I think it’s harder to go from the treadmill to outdoors than from outdoors to the treadmill.”

For years, Meaney has brought a team to compete in the Windmill Whirl 5K, and this year is no different.

“I’ve had a team at the Windmill Whirl 5K for more than 10 years. It’s my favorite course,” Meaney said. “The event is run well by the Batavia Park District and their volunteers. Having an organized race is what gets runners to come back each year.”

With Meaney’s help, more than 100 runners have completed the Windmill Whirl 5K.

This year’s Windmill Whirl 5K will take place at 8:30 a.m. July 15 at the Batavia Riverwalk. Registration is $20 by July 10 or $30 on race day.

Race day registration will be available from 6 to 8 a.m. Registrations will not be accepted after 8 a.m. due to chip timing. Runners registered by July 9 will be guaranteed a T-shirt. Online registration is available at

• Kari Miller is marketing and public relations manager at the Batavia Park District. Contact her at

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