This weekend I will be participating in the Fargo Marathon. The marathon distance is something I’ve really struggled with in the past; especially my last effort in Houston. In many ways I’m out to avenge my previous effort. To do that I’ve had a pretty amazing team helping me get ready for the Fargo Marathon. Today on the blog I’ve decided to compare my team to characters from the Avengers. Why? Because it is really fun. I cannot say thank you to these characters enough and what they have meant in my journey so this, in my own weird way is the best I can do today.
Coach Jacqui Meadors is Maria Hill. Maria Hill is the Deputy Director of SHIELD. She is a character in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) that is known for being clearheaded and tough minded. She is one of the characters that works in the shadows and is often times the right hand of Nick Fury. Will get into him later. I think this character works for Coach Meadors because Maria Hill isn’t afraid of anything or any opponent. While she doesn’t have any official super powers that doesn’t stop her from taking names and kicking butt when she needs to. In similar regard Coach is a highly decorated runner, but for as talented of an athlete that she is, she just may be a better coach. Coach has successfully guided me through injury, doubts and mental blocks throughout training.
Ben Kohls is Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye. Fans were totally surprised in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie to discover that Hawkeye had a secret family. When I first met Ben at the Saturday morning group run at 605 Running Company I literally ran with him for weeks before learning he had 6 kids! Hawkeye is another character that doesn’t technically have any super powers, but fans have grown to love this character and his humor. This character fits Ben so well. He has a very dry humor and he is always working to insure that the group we run with is truly a team. He genuinely cares about people and wants to see them succeed. Plus he is pretty dang fast with an appropriate GIF in a text train.
Chris Anderson is Steve Rogers AKA Captain America. Cap. Is known as the first avenger. Anyone that enjoys our Wednesday evening group run has Chris Anderson to thank. When our store first opened Chris came to many-a-group-run events where he was the only participant. His dedication can easily be compared to Steve Rogers trying time and time again to join the service in Captain America: The First Avenger. I’m not going to say that the CA Not On Instagram has been genetically altered to have super powers, but he has a great way of running most any pace and any distance with anyone and everyone that shows up to a group run at 605 Running Company or at Good Earth on Thursdays. Plus if you ever do a long run with Chris he usually has chocolate milk for everyone at the finish. How Captain America is that!
Maren Ernst is Bruce Banner AKA The Hulk. Imagine a character that is highly intelligent and downright witty one minute and a complete rage monster the next. Maren like Bruce is very smart and truly cares about people, but trust me you don’t want to see her when she is angry. Thankfully she is on our team and usually takes that rage out on a workout. Proving time-and-time again that she is one of the most talented runners I know Maren is the key to our training team, just like the Hulk is the key to the Avengers success. She usually keeps the group accountable by planning early morning runs and isn’t afraid to push the pace while saying she is dying at the same time. Like the Hulk gets stronger the madder you make him, Maren gets faster on most runs.
Coach Benson Langat is Nick Furry. Nick Furry is the man behind the scenes that creates the Avengers Initiative. The model that brings all of the hero’s together. Similar to the Wizard of Oz, Benson is behind the curtain pushing buttons and motivating each of us in his own way. Like Nick Furry he has his own team of elite agents (I’m looking at you Nic Penning, Bobby Brockmueller, Matt Horan, Dylan Slaba, Jordin Kopplow and Tessa Stoltenberg) that he usually works with, but he is very connected to our hero’s as well and you never know when he will show up and join us for a run or crew a Sunday long run.
This core group has made training truly fun. Some honorable mentions include Steven Burdick as Iron Man, Scott Kennedy as Star Lord, Nicole Black as Spider Man, Dan Zelenak as Quicksilver, Chad Brower as Vision and Nate Schwab as Doctor Strange. I’ve learned so much about myself and the power of surrounding yourself with good people. Working at the running store I get to see a lot of running groups come together. I’m always jealous of how connected they seem to be. I’d like to give a shout out to Jeroni, the local Hogwarts Running Club, the Sexy Pacers, the Kiwanis Hill group and all of the other amazing groups of runners supporting each other. I think this is a great indication of how strong our running scene is here. Our community has grown to support the Sioux Falls Area Running Club and Sioux Falls Women Run in a way that was simply not imaginable in years past. This weekend I’m traveling to run a race and I’m very proud to represent this great city! To all of my friends running with me this weekend lets go kick some butt!
Greg Koch is the General Manager/Co-Owner of the 605 Running Company. When he is not at the store he volunteers on the Sioux Falls Marathon Board and Co-Coaches his church softball co-ed team. Greg is an avid runner and enjoys being outdoors whenever possible. Follow Greg on Instagram @gregrun605