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Offer beginner running classes.


Shepherdstown runners take part in one of the frequent running clinics offered by Shepherdstown’s active running community.


Dave Lambert (top right) shows newbie runners how to pace themselves properly ato get them

Dave Lambert shows newbie runners how to pace themselves properly

Ten weeks before the Charleston Distance Run, Charlestonians new to running took themselves from couch to 5K, thanks to a Running 101 beginner class offered by Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance company.

“They break it down into such small increments, you can almost quantitatively see improvement as you go,” participant Jason Elliott said.

Several times a year in the Charleston area, the Genesis running program offers highly successful Couch to 5K courses. Hundreds of people in all shapes and sizes have completed the 5K. Read more about it at

Some running clubs and community groups offer beginner classes.


Charleston students in Highmark’s beginner running class pound the pavement on Kanawha Boulevard. Photo courtesy The Charleston Daily Mail.

  • In Parkersburg, the River City Runners and Walkers Club offers beginner clinics and children’s classes, so people can ramp up for longer runs. They encourage beginners to join daily runs listed on their Web site. “We want to give people comfortable entry points and help them develop good running and walking habits,” said board member Sharon Marks.  “We make a point of being a beginner-friendly club.” Their beginner classes have won national awards.
  • In Shepherdstown,  Two Rivers Treads, the running/walking store, offers weekly clinics for people of all skill levels, including beginners. “People don’t automatically know the safe way to run,” said Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, who directs the Shepherdstown program. “People can hurt themselves if they don’t know how to avoid it.”
  • The Ohio Valley Runners and Walkers in Wheeling offer “Heart and Sole” beginners courses at least once a year.
  • Highmark employees sometimes lead classes in their communities on request. (See below.)


Beginner clinics help people get started. Here’s how to start one:



Chris McDougal, author of “Born to Run,” conducting a workshop in Shepherdstown for all ages on safe running habits.

Helpful material for beginner runners.



For more ways to get people running and walking, see these related Try This pages:

Children’s running program: Start a children’s running program

Community running group:  start a community running/walking program

 Girls on the RunGirls on the Run,

School Run-for-Fun programStart a school run-for-fun program,

Monthly community 5Ks to keep people going



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