A local run group formed by Josh Maxwell, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at the Liberty County YMCA, competed and placed during the JCB Mud Run held June 16 in Savannah.
Maxwell started the Liberty Run Group a little more than two years ago. Since then, the group has competed in several local 5K runs. Last week, the group got down and dirty at the JCB Run, which benefitted the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development. “Liberty Run Group fielded 16 runners,” Maxwell said. “One of our female teams placed first overall for all-female team. Another one of our coed teams placed second overall in the coed category. Derrick Selman and I were partnered in the male race, and we placed 20th overall.”
The group has 80 members, and many have competed in several local runs in various age and team groups.
Maxwell said he has a passion for running. He said he has participated in several runs in the past few years, and one thing always caught his attention.
“The teams (runners) were always smiling, happy and so eager to talk about their team,” Maxwell said. “I went back to the Liberty County YMCA … and put out a signup sheet to see if there was any interest in a running team at our YMCA. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I left the signup sheets up for three weeks. At the end, I collected the information and had 82 people interested in joining a running team.”
The Liberty Run Group started training in October 2010 when Maxwell used the Couch to 5K program to train new runners. Since then, he has three levels of runners and a new training program he developed.
All the runners train at 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Maxwell said the beginners group — people who have little or no experience in running — use a program that will have the athletes running three miles non-stop within two months.
The intermediate group is a year-round group that runs between 3-5 miles per session. The advanced group is also a year-round group and runs 4-10 miles.
“I have a great coaching staff that helps train the different teams,” Maxwell said. “I am the head coach. Diane Wagoner, who is a manager for Post Housing, is a coach. Greg Lewis, who is a realtor for Century 21, is a coach, and Lucrecia Spratley, owner of Lucrecia’s Hair Gallery, is also a coach.”
Maxwell said the beginners group cost $30 a month, the intermediate group costs $20 a month and the advanced group costs $50 a year.
“Anyone can join our team. All they need to do is sign up at the YMCA,” he said, adding that runners don’t have to be a member of the Y to join the group.
Maxwell said the team will stay busy over the summer.
“Our next races are the Milestone Half Marathon in Pooler, Pooler 5K, YMCA Heart of Savannah 5K, The Big Nasty Mud Run X2, Sunbury 5K and the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon,” Maxwell said. “These are the major events we know we will be racing in. We will be doing several other races in between those that are listed.”
When the group is not running together, Maxwell said they have a great deal of fun as well.
“During the summer months we go to the beach at the end of every month, we go out to eat for members birthdays and do specialty or fun runs (frozen yogurt or Dunkin Donuts runs),” Maxwell said.