Local Women finish Half Marathon


by Wendy Pollitzer

Featured in The Island News

Mar. 11, 2010

Denice Davis, Katie Oliva and Jenny Kopke

Three local trainers recently finished the Columbia Half Marathon, the first in a series of USRA half marathons for small to mid-size markets.

Jenny Kopke, Katie Oliva and Denice Davis, all trainers at the Wardle Family YMCA ran 13.1 miles through our Capital City. ‘Team Dockside’ started at Finlay Park in downtown Columbia, ran through the campus of USC, crossed over the Saluda to West Columbia, raced through Cayce, battled the hill over the Gervais Street Bridge, jogged up to the Vista and finished at Finlay Park.

All mothers over 35, the three trained a little over a month.  On Mondays the trio would start at the Y and circle around Bay Street, over the Woods Bridge then to Meridian Road, and over the McTeer Bridge, which was approximately 9 miles. On Wednesdays, they would sprint up and down the McTeer Bridge.

The training paid off. In Denice’s 1st half marathon ever, she placed 3rd in her age division running the race in 1 hour and 46 minutes. Jenny wasn’t too far behind at 1 hour and 51 minutes, and Katie finishing at 2 hours and 10 minutes.

When asked if they’d ever consider a whole marathon, the three agreed, “Never say never!” What’s interesting is that these women all choose to run in these types of races for different reasons.

Jenny prefers to run events to give herself a sense of accomplishment, and likes to improve on “personal best” times. She runs the annual Twilight Run, the Cooper River Bridge Run, the Shrimp Festival 5-K, etc. to beat her previous times.

Katie likes to run her own race, completely motivated by an internal, personal challenge. She’s not competitive. She wants to finish, and be proud she did.

And Denice is competitive with herself. She has fitness goals and wants to keep expanding those goals. When she finishes a half marathon, she’s looking for the next thing…you guessed it. She’ll be running that whole marathon soon!

Almost 800 runners competed, with an additional thousand running in the 5-K. The girls joined the others after their routine, pre-race morning that began at 5am.  They started with coffee and tea first thing, then swallowed some B12 vitamins. They followed up with oatmeal, powerade, water and advil.

After the race, they refreshed with bagels, fruit, water and powerade and listened to live music during the awards ceremony, where Denice admittedly cried (happy tears, of course).

The three concurred that this was a, “great girl bonding experience!” And yes, they will definitely do it again!

As trainers certified with AFAA (Aerobics Fitness Association of America), they now have better knowledge of training for long races. If you’re interested in training for a 5-K, give them a call at the Y.

And the women also give kudos to Kevin Green from Carolina SportsCare.  He gave them many tidbits from hip alignment to shoes to cadence. He’ll offer a free analysis to anyone interested running a race. Jenny, Katie and Denice were certainly appreciative.

It was a pleasure talking with these women. As always, it’s so nice to converse and share stories with people excited about life. I saw a quote over the weekend that reminded me of these women. “Live life with exclamation, not an explanation.”

This trio lives that way, as we all should. It’s encouraging to read about people who make goals, follow through and smile about their accomplishments afterwards. It’s people like Jenny, Katie and Denice who are true American Idols!

About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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