Beginner to 5K

This summer provided opportunity to join three Active SWV Training Teams to prepare for area events. The event distances range from 5K to 10K to 15K and Half Marathon. These teams quickly became friends and will forever be the foundation of the Active SWV family.

There is now time for a fall Active SWV Training Team working toward a fundraising costume party race, the Devil Dash 5K hosted by our Community Captain Joseph Gutshall. On Halloween morning Collins Middle School will be swamped with characters ready to race. My money will be on the track-star-zombie.

You now know the event so let’s talk about getting prepared and be thinking of who you can recruit. There will be an Oak Hill Training Team led by Joseph Gutshall, so for details on joining his team read below. Active SWV is currently accepting interest in beginner to 5K running coaches in the Fayetteville area and the door is open for other communities to have teams as well.

Coaches and team members will be provided with the Active SWV Training Team Beginner to 5K Training Manual which includes:

  • 5K training schedules that will take you from a beginning runner to an intermediate competitor to an advanced winner.
  • The support of a Training Team coach who will lead one weekly group run for the team and use that opportunity to answer questions and encourage Training Team participants.
  • This booklet will also provide supporting information regarding nutrition, clothing, and other essential tips that will facilitate development into a strong, efficient runner.


Our Training Teams initiative has been Active Southern West Virginia’s most successful program to date which involves volunteer coaches training community members up for area running events. We currently have three teams training for various fall events.

Our Beckley Team was the first to begin with Coach Terry Hoskins and the goal of racing in the Beckley Half Marathon on September 19th or the Rocket Run 10K on October 3rd. They meet every Sunday at 2pm at the YMCA Soccer Complex in Beckley.

The Beckley Training Team’s first meeting. Go team!

Our MacArthur Training Team was next up with Coach Missy Burleson and the goal of competing in the October 3rd Rocket Run 5K. They meet every Sunday at 5:30pm at Fitzpatrick Park in Beckley.

The MacArthur Training Team’s first meeting and team run.

The MacArthur Team has already exceeded their goal of completing a 5K. On August 15th, they all ran in their first 5K race, the Raleigh County 4H 5K. But still train every Sunday to run in the race that was their original goal, the October 3rd Rocket Run 5K. These women are unstoppable!

Beckley Training Team Member Joe Canterbury and MacArthur Training Team Member Charlene Diggs giving it their all in the Raleigh County 4H 5K.

Our latest Training Team began training on July 26th with Coach Sarah Coffey at the lead. The Fayetteville Training Team is training for the October 10th Sticks & Stones 15K Trailrun in Babcock State Park and they meet every Sunday at 6pm at various trailheads throughout the Fayetteville area.

The Fayetteville Training Team’s first meeting and team run.

On September 3rd in Oak Hill, Coach Joseph Gutshall will hold his first meeting and group run for the Oak Hill Training Team. Joseph teaches health and physical education at Collins Middle School and also serves as the Oak Hill Community Captain, leading a walking/running group on the White Oak Rail Trail every Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm. Joseph just obtained his Masters of Science degree in School Health Education.

The Oak Hill Training Team will be training for the October 31st Devil Dash 5K and will meet for their team run every Thursday at 5pm from September 3rd until race day. All are welcome and encouraged to join this group as the program is designed for novice or beginner runners. The program starts with walking/running intervals and has you running most, if not all, of the course on race day.

Oak Hill Training Team Coach Joseph Gutshall.

We are also working hard to recruit more Training Team Coaches to coach this Beginner to 5K program in their community, so if you have interest or know someone who does email Melanie Seiler at [email protected]. The first round of training is set to start the first week of September, for teams hoping to train for the October 31st Devil Dash 5K, so get in contact with us as soon as possible!

Featured Picture Photo Credit: WVPhotoWorks