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{ 2 }  SNJ Today  |  JUNE 9, 2021                                                                                     JUNE 9, 2021  |   { 3 }
              TRUE GRIT                                    Continued from cover  Calling All Runners, Even First-Timers!

                                                                                   Registration is still open for the Third Annual Running The Ave 5K, which will
     the race, still shows dogged determination   vals they give you. If I have a longer run, I   take place on Sunday, June 27. Held by Main Street Vineland in cooperation with
     and the spirit of never giving up.   try to run a few times a week and then do a   Second Capital Running and with major sponsorship by Lidl, it will be held rain or
        Meet Lauren Davenport, 40, of the   longer run on the weekends. Or sometimes   shine, starting at 9 a.m., along downtown Landis Avenue—The Ave—in Vineland.
     Millville area, the True Grit Award win-  I just wing it and hope for the best!  Cumberland County’s premier road race will go through 3.1 miles of Vineland’s
     ner in 2019, and Hara Beth Carney, 49, of   Carney: I don’t really have a training   wide streets and green parks. The race starts on The Ave. Special awards will go to
     Pittsgrove Township, the winner in 2020.   regimen, other than a minimum of 15 miles   the fastest runner from Vineland and a True Grit Award for the last-place finisher.
     Davenport is employed by the State of New   per week.                      Team challenges will take place for the fastest family and fastest business. Social
     Jersey, working with children and families.   Have you done other races?   distancing measures will be in place. Register in advance by going to Main Street
     Carney is the benefits coordinator for Nipro   Davenport: Lots of other races! Many,   Vineland’s website—
     PharmaPackaging in Millville. She is mar-  many 5Ks, 10Ks and 10-milers (Broad Street   Additional sponsorship opportunities are also available.
     ried 26 years to her high school sweetheart   several times now and the Salem Cow Run).
     Dustin, who joined her in running in July   I have also completed four half-marathons   Running The Ave 5K True
     of last year. They have a 14-year-old son,   over the years, with the most recent being   Grit 2019 Award Winner
     River.                               on May 8 for the Virtual Marine Corps      Lauren Davenport
        What motivated you to start running?  Historic Half.
        Davenport: I started running about   Carney: Yes! I have done 40 or more. A   who are able to run super-
     five years ago as I had a few friends that   large percentage of them were virtual, but   fast! I don’t have a problem
     were doing runs in the South Jersey and   as more live races opened back up, I started   coming in last. Someone
     Philadelphia area. I hadn’t run anything   doing them as well.            has to be last! I joke that I
     more than what I needed to do in school for   What did it mean to you to win the True   might be dead last—but I’m
     the yearly physical fitness test. What really   Grit Award?               not dead. I know that I ran
     got me going was that I had gastric surgery   Davenport: I originally signed up to   the same distance as those
     and there was a run that was close to the   do the Running The Ave two years ago   fast persons. A 5K is a 5K no
     one-year anniversary date of my surgery,   because they had the True Grit Award,   matter what your time is!
     and I wanted to see what I could do. So, I   and it was a very local race. I haven’t seen   Carney: Because I did
     started training for the 5K. I came in dead   anyone do an award for the final person to   it. I set out to do a live 5K,
     last but I immediately wanted to do another   come in and as a “back of the pack” run-  and it didn’t matter where I
     one.                                 ner this is awesome. I actually had a goal   finished, just that I finished.
        Carney: I have been overweight my   to “not get it” by not coming in last but was   I have a saying that I hold
     whole life, and because of some pretty   awarded it in conjunction with another   very close to my heart and
     serious health/injury issues exercising   runner. It was super awesome to see people   mind: My Race, My Pace.
     wasn’t easy either, but for several years I   actually waiting at the finish line and cheer-  What running plans do   “I joke that I might be dead last—
            “I have a saying that I hold very close to my heart                you have for the future?            but I’m not dead.”
                                                                                 Davenport: I will continue
                       and mind: My Race, My Pace.”                            to run as long as my legs can             —Lauren Davenport
                                    —Hara Beth Carney                          do it. I am starting to train
                                                                               for another half marathon in
                                                                               the fall in the hopes that Broad Street will   Andy Rivera before I officially signed
     had thought I wanted to participate in a   ing you as you came in as the last or second   be live again this year. And long-term I have   up and asked if there was a time limit. I
     5K. After a few gallbladder surgeries at the   to last running. Very few runs are like this. I   the Marine Corps Marathon on the books   explained it was my first in-person race
     end of 2019 were unsuccessful, I decided   also have been at many runs where they are   for 2022. I was supposed to run it in 2020   and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to fin-
     I needed to change some of my food chal-  breaking down their stuff before the final   but COVID hijacked my plans, and every-  ish in a set amount of time. He immediately
     lenges. By May 2020, I had lost a bit of   runners come in.               thing got pushed back.              e-mailed me back and said there was no
     weight and decided I wanted to add some   Carney: Everything! This race was my   Carney: To keep doing it. To get out   time limit and that it was over when the last
     light exercise. However, because of COVID,   very first live race. I was nervous. I was out   there and do my best every time.  person crossed the finish line. I personally
     so many places were closed. So, it only   of my comfort zone, I didn’t know what   What was your overall experience partici-  met him the day before the race while pick-
     made sense to start with the easiest tool I   to expect, but I ran it as hard as I could.   pating in the Running The Ave 5K? Are you   ing up my packet. He was so nice, so kind,
     had—my legs. I stumbled across a Facebook   Just the fact that I finished a live 5K was   participating in it again?  and so encouraging. He holds a special
     post about a virtual 5K, and I signed up.   emotional for me—so emotional that I cried   Davenport: I love the Running the Ave   place in my heart, because he has embold-
     I started walking half a mile, then a mile,   almost all the way home after the race.  5K. It surprised me the first time I did it,   ened me since the day I first e-mailed him
     then added some faster walking and even-  What difference is it to you to come in   and I found Second Capital, Andy [race   about that race. Every time I see him at a
     tually running. I kept signing up for virtual   last, rather than first?  coordinator Andre Rivera] and the RVC   race—his or another he’s participating in—
     races and they kept me accountable and   Davenport: I know I will never come in   [Run Vineland Crew—a group of runners   he always makes me feel good about myself.
     motivated!                           first in a run, and that is very okay, because   from Vineland and the surrounding area]. I   In fact, the running community as a
        What has been your training regimen?  there are talented amazing runners out   am so glad I signed up for that run. I will be   whole is pretty awesome! Yes, I will be
        Davenport: I have been on and off   there and they deserve to get first, or sec-  there in June ready to go—last or otherwise!     doing it again this year. I have made a
     using Couch to 5K [C25K] or Couch to 10K   ond, or third place and all the recognition   Carney: Since this was my first race, I   promise to myself that I will always run this
     [C210K]. It’s a really great app to get started   that goes with it. I’m always amazed by the   was concerned about my times. I e-mailed   race—because it is what made me the run-
     and to see how far you can go in the inter-  age group awards of the kids or older folks                      ner I am today. n
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