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UNK Running Club inspires first time marathon participants
Kaitlin Doty
Antelope Staff
Graphic by Amy Markham

New Year’s resolution No. 1, get in shape! This is the time that many students on campus are taking over UNK’s workout facilities and breaking in those first steps onto Cottonmill Trail. One way runners on campus have been getting in shape for their New Year’s resolution is to train for and run the Lincoln Marathon or Half Marathon in the spring.

Students who completed the marathon last spring have inspired many others to run, too. Paige Pillen, a sophomore industrial distribution major from Columbus, is an avid runner on campus. Pillen said, “I basically run to stay in shape.  In the beginning it is hard to get into running, but then once you get past that barrier, you get on a runner’s high and running becomes a way of life … I can’t go a day without it.”

Pillen’s first marathon was last May when she completed the Lincoln Half Marathon. “It was the best feeling to cross that finish line and be able to say I completed a half marathon,” Pillen said. 

Runners such as Pillen have joined a new club just recently created—the UNK Running Club. Students and professors can be a part of the UNK Running Club. The club gets together on days such as a Saturday mornings to meet up and run together.
Pillen said, “I love having people to run with. I was so active in team sports in high school. It’s nice to have friends to run with. Running with people allows me the opportunity to spend time with people who do the same thing I love to do. This helps especially on days we have long runs.”

Beyond making a resolution to get in shape, you can run for a cause. For example, there is an annual run in San Francisco called the “Cause2Run.” This marathon fundraises for over 30 charitable organizations and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. 

Locally, the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure is the largest series of marathons and walks in the world. They have had millions of participants, and they even have an annual marathon/walk in Nebraska. Sarah Ables, a sophomore elementary education major from Kearney said, “I ran this race for my sister last year. She had breast cancer, and I thought it would be an awesome way to support her. I even made a shirt with a message: ‘I run for my sister.’ It was the best race I did.” 

So you may wonder, where do I start? It takes a lot of training to run a marathon, but there are many tips for training, and some great running gear that helps out, too. Web sites such as,, and are reliable resources that offer training schedules for marathons, half marathons and 5K runs. 

Running gear like a good pair of running shoes, such as Asics or New Balance is No. 1 on your list of running gear.  Also, gear such as a the Garmin Forerunner can track your optimal aerobic zone, how fast you run, monitors distance and keeps track of your heart rate.  Get yourself an iPod nano or iPod shuffle for a light compact MP3 player to keep you upbeat, motivated and busy during long runs.


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