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Sports Backers Blog

Catching the Running Bug with the Half Marathon

Most people catch the running bug after taking part in a race and deciding they want to keep going. Meredith Colton Funnell, a Mechanicsville resident, only needed to watch a friend run to discover her love for the sport.

“I had run a few 5k races, but didn’t run on a regular basis. I also did the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k once years ago, but again, nothing consistent,” Funnell said of her past running experience. “I used to joke with my friend that I need to get a 0.0 sticker for my car.”

After witnessing a friend complete a half marathon earlier this year, and seeing so many different runners on the course and crossing the finish line, Funnell knew she could do it too. So she went all in. Starting with the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon in Washington, D.C., in March 2017, she has run four half marathons in eight months. She’s preparing for her fifth, the Markel Richmond Half Marathon, on November 11 and says the journey is both fun and exhausting.

She’s experienced all manner of conditions and terrain in her races so far, from 30 degree temperatures in March to trails in May at Dominion Riverrock’s Bust the Banks Half. She also ran a half as part of the Hatfield McCoy Marathon, which features courses in two states, Kentucky and West Virginia. “I did the Blackberry Mountain half this year and I’m planning to go back to do the River Road half next year,” Funnell said. “Runners can do 13.1 miles in Kentucky and then 13.1 miles in West Virginia. The course was beautiful and I cannot wait to go back.”

Funnell takes advantage of Richmond’s varied scenery while training. “I am lucky to live in a city that has so many great places to run,” she said. “My favorite place in the city is Hollywood Cemetery. Especially this time of year, I will listen to the Spooky Symphony station on Pandora that plays all sorts of classic horror music. Perfect for a run through an old cemetery!”

The Markel Richmond Half Marathon is Funnell’s fifth race this year and she shows no sign of slowing down. “Running has been such an awesome adventure. Every course has been so different and every race has taught me a little more about myself,” Funnell said. “I had NO clue when I first signed up and committed to run 13.1 miles, that it would take me this far.”

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To learn more about the Markel Richmond Half Marathon, part of the Anthem Richmond Marathon, visit www.richmondmarathon.org. Online registration is available through November 6 at 11:59p.m.