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San Gabriel Valley's Oldest Running Club Brings Together New and Experienced Running Enthusiasts

By Elisha Neubauer

The Pasadena Pacers stemmed from a rather interesting aspect; a doctor looking for a greater range of physical activities for his patients. Not wanting his patients to have to spend a fortune to remain physically active, Dr. Steve Smith, a local chiropractor, and his wife Robin, decided form their own organization which would help local residents remain active without extensive costs.

It was 20 years ago that the Smiths decided to start the Pasadena Pacers. They began meeting on the weekends, with the occasional weekday run, with 40 people enlisted in the group. The majority of these people had never been involved in running before and started this journey with no experience whatsoever. Dr. Smith coached each and every one of these running newbies, taking it slow and easing them into the sport. Before they knew it, within the very first year, 12 of these newbies enrolled in and completed the Los Angeles Marathon.

Today, the Pasadena Pacers has one major motive behind membership. "We aim to bring fun, friendly running support and training to anyone and everyone completely free of charge," says Rachel Koelzer, social media team member for the Pasadena Pacers. Koelzer tells us that community is a huge part of what they do within the organization. To ensure everyone can participate without conflicts, several running meet-ups are held throughout the week.

Their weekday runs, which take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 and 7 pm (allowing you to pick the best time for you), cover a span of three to five miles. The group's Saturday run offers longer runs for those who are wanting to train for distances. "On these runs we offer water along the routes and snacks at the table for post-run nourishment," Koelzer states. All of the timeslots meet at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. On the days when an event is held at the Bowl, the group moves to a local park.

The organization currently offers several unique, tailored programs, free of charge, to local residents. These programs are varied in order to accommodate every type of runner. The Pre-Conditioners Program is a 12-week program designed for individuals with no previous experience. As Koelzer puts it, "takes individuals from the couch to the completion of a five-mile run." The 10-Mile Challenge is a 12-week program for those who have completed the Pre-Conditioners Program and are looking for a method to stay active with slow and continuous training.

The Half Marathon Program is great for those who have some experience but want to additional conditioning in order to be able to complete a half marathon. The 20-Mile Challenge is for those who have completed a half marathon and are looking to prepare for a full marathon.

Regardless of the reason behind the founding of the Pasadena Pacers, it is clear that the group has blossomed over the years, forming an organization that truly benefits the community. "Friendships were forged; people were healthier, happier," says Koelzer, when she refers to the start of the organization. "And our mission continues to this day."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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