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Folsom running club growing in popularity

By: Matt Long
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Lace up those running shoes and hit the streets. Runners in the greater Folsom area have a new club, thanks to the efforts of Kristen Shill. The Folsom Road Runners have been together since January and are currently made up of 23 runners from Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Orangevale and Granite Bay. They meet every Saturday morning for runs and starting next month plan to start Wednesday evening runs as well. Shill is the founder of the group, but also serves as the coach. A 35-year-old mother of five who lives in Folsom, Shill is a Road Runners Club of America certified running coach and United States Level 1 certified coach. “I just wanted to provide an opportunity for people to come together, train together and run together,” Shill said. “I wanted to do something to encourage the enjoyment of running.” Shill is thrilled to have 23 members already in the club, which is the product of passing out lots of fliers, advertising on on-line calendars and through word of mouth. Of the 23 members, about 15 are women and the age range of the runners is as young as 23 and as old as 50. Shill said the group is for everybody, men and women, young and old alike, as well as runners of all ability. Two of the club members are Folsom residents Noah Bentley and Jennifer Torres. Bentley, 36, has been running for years and was looking to improve his time in his half-marathon races. Torres, 35, is the beginner of the group, whose initial goal was to complete a 6 ½-mile run during the Shamrock’n Half Marathon in West Sacramento held March 15. “I was looking for a new fitness program that fit into my busy work schedule and being a mom,” Torres said. “It’s only been since January, but I’ve already gotten out of it what I wanted. I wanted to complete the half-marathon relay and I did.” Bentley has run six half-marathons in his life and never finished in less than one hour and 50 minutes. After nine weeks of training with Shill and the Folsom Road Runners, he completed his seventh half-marathon two minutes faster than ever before. “Kristen shaved almost exactly two minutes off my best time so I’m pleased with the results so far,” Bentley said. “I like this group because they’re reliable. When they say they’re going to meet at a certain place and time they meet. The group is fun; the energy is positive. We all have different goals, but we train together and achieve them together and that makes it fun.” Torres added, “I like the teamwork and camaraderie. They’re accountable too, and I don’t think I could get up every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. to run without the group. I’m the beginner of the group and they’re all really supportive.” For more information on the Folsom Road Runners, visit their Web site at www.folsomroadrunners.com.