The annual Cotton Row Run in Huntsville has become more than just elite runners racing to the finish line. The 10K race is a great way to stay healthy and for others who want to attempt the exciting event and become a part of the community happening. Photo Contributed

Cotton Row Run Training Available From Fleet Feet

MADISON- The sounds of “pitter-patter” of feet will soon be heard throughout areas of Madison as local residents will be going through training for their attempts to participate in the 2024 Cotton Row Run (CRR) set for Memorial Day, May 27 in Huntsville. Since 1980, the Cotton Row Run has been the premiere Memorial Day running event in the South that honors fallen military members who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we all richly enjoy in the country.

Through the years, the event held in downtown Huntsville has grown from the long standing 10K race to now include the 5K and one-mile fun run. Conducted by the Huntsville Track Club, the CRR is a road race event that is viewed by many to be an event where beginners can enjoy as much as the elite participants. Again, this year, Fleet Feet of both Madison and Huntsville has put together a 12-week training program for those wishing to properly prepare for the Memorial Day extravaganza.

Heading up the training program this year is Paul Moeller, who said, “The program is designed for new runners to the 10K distance, and also for experienced runners desiring to better their current 10K fitness. The program progressively builds up to the 10K distance and features a daily activity plan that is highlighted by group runs three times-a-week.”

Daniel Pham of Madison is joining the challenge of making race day in the CRR as he’s looking to the training program to help him get across the finish line. The 24-year old will be running his first CRR and only his second 10K distance race. “Through the training program I want to be able to run consistently as my goal for the race is to finish under an hour. With expert coaches on hand I hope to improve my running form.”

Pham, a software engineer for deciBel Research and who has called Huntsville home since age five, wanted to join the Fleet Feet training program for the sake of his health, plus he wanted to challenge himself in an attempt for his first Memorial Day race. He added, “My mother told me about the training program as both she and my father are runners. After I found out of potential health issues I thought getting back into running would be good. I wanted to challenge myself as I want to get back into the saddle of running 5K and 10K races.” Pham has already got underway in his training running two miles on any given day he hits the roads for a workout.”

Kickoff for the training will be held in Madison on March 13 at 6:00 p.m. and in Huntsville on March 14 also at 6:00 p.m. Training program fee is $125.

The training program includes

  • Two coached training sessions each week (long run and speed work)
  • Experienced coaches and mentors to support you along the way
  • Daily training schedule for 12 weeks
  • Education on proper running form, pacing, fueling, stretching and more
  • Tech training shirt- Exclusive Fleet Feet discounts
  • Weekly newsletter from the coach with tips, advice and motivational encouragement

“Participants may be surprised that the most effective and strongly emphasized part of the program relies on “easy” and “conversation” paced running,” added Moeller. “The first half of the program will focus heavily on base-building while the last half of the program will incorporate more quality types of workouts to focus on preparing you for the 10K race.”

“Fleet Feet believes in every runner. We love to help people reach their personal goals,” said Suzanne Swift owner of Fleet Feet. “Often, those goals start with the first steps in a running group like our Cotton Row Run training program.”

In Madison, the training on Mondays and Wednesdays meets at 6:00 p.m., then the group meets on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. along the route of the Cotton Row Run. Participants don’t need to be fast runners nor a gifted runner to be successful in their goal for the Memorial Day event. The training runs are conducted at a conversational pace which is easy on the body and actually extremely beneficial to overall health.

Though the training program is designed to assist those wishing to participate in the 10K race (6.2-miles), the annual event also includes a 5K run and 1-mile Fun Run. The expert coaches of the program can also gear your training to one or more of the events in May.

“I’m excited about the challenge in front of me and I look forward to the training program and running the Cotton Row Run,” said Pham.

“Your coach will be actively involved with the weekly group runs and will also help establish your pacing goals for the easy and quality runs,” said Moeller. “The workouts are fun and will include mentors who have been in your shoes when they first began running and know how to help you get to the finish line.”

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