Running for a free banana is hard work

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 8, 2015

1208-spt-Troy-StewartFlorala head basketball and cross-country coach Troy Stewart competed in the Andalusia Civitan Holiday Half Marathon on Saturday coming away with a fourth place overall finish and first in his division.

“It was a lot of fun,” Stewart said, “I’m really feeling it yesterday and today… my legs are sore.”

Stewart said that this was the second half-marathon that he has competed in.

“I had done one half-marathon before this when I was in Akron for grad school,” he said. “My wife and I ran in that one together and we ran in this one together also.”

Stewart said that his wife, Jen, is his motivator and trainer when it comes to running.’

“My wife was a runner,” he said. “She is the one that gets me signed up for runs and then she gets me in shape for them.”

During basketball season, Stewart said it isn’t always easy to train, but that his wife is always there to provide motivation.

“She really motivates me and keeps me in shape,” he said. “We live out in the country, so we do a lot of running on the road around our house to train. My wife laid out a practice course for us around where we live and she made sure to include plenty of hills in it.”

Stewart said that training on hills is a crucial part of preparing for a half-marathon.

“Training with hills is a difference maker,” he said. “It’s easy to get winded during a race if you haven’t practiced on hills.”

As for the Andalusia Civitan Half-Marathon, a first-year event, Stewart said that the organizers did a great job.

“It really was a great race,” he said. “The Civitan Club did an excellent job with it. Jennifer O’Neal was the one who got talked us in to doing this race when we had our Turkey Trot 5K back in November. Mrs. O’Neal and the rest of the people that helped did a great job organizing the whole event.”

Stewart said that the most impressive part of the race was the course itself.

“The course layout was amazing,” Stewart said. “It really showed every aspect of Andalusia. My favorite part was seeing parts of Andalusia that I hadn’t seen in years. We ran through one part of town that my parents used to take me as a child to look at Christmas lights. I was telling my wife about when we went by and it brought back great memories from childhood.”

Another part of the race Stewart enjoyed were the signs that some fans held along the course.

“Seeing the signs that people had was great,” he said. “One guy had a sign up that said, ‘Most people don’t drive 13 miles on a Saturday,’ and another said, ‘That’s a lot of work for a free banana.’ That got me thinking that it sure is a lot of work for a banana, and I laughed. Seeing those kinds of signs really made it worth it.”

Stewart said that he certainly enjoyed the event and hopes it becomes a yearly event.

“Overall, they did such a great job with the entire day,” Stewart said. “My wife and I have already said that if they do it again next year that we are going to do it again.”