Runners, walkers and joggers alike gathered for the start of Team Runners Lane’s seventh season of training Saturday morning.
“We’ve got walkers, Boston (Marathon) qualifiers and everything in between,” said team captain Kerri Spurlin.
Flo Mina, owner of Runners Lane, an athletic shoe store, started the running group almost by accident, after reaching out to people on social media when she was preparing for the Los Angeles Marathon seven years ago.
“There are other running groups around, but I just felt like we needed something that would accommodate all of us … somebody that was just beginning who weren’t quite running yet, but wanted to work towards that,” Mina said. “I think we filled that void in this community.”
The club meets twice a week to run or walk through some of Santa Clarita’s trails in preparation for first the Santa Clarita Marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K all in November, then the L.A. Marathon later in the season.
“Since we do have a marathon in town, we felt like that was the best way we could support our local race, so we built our program around that,” Mina added. “I just wanted a place where everyone could come together of all ages and all levels to just get out here and move together, give them something to strive for.”
Mina kicked off the morning with a speech before the three or five mile run to get everyone excited about the season, followed by snacks and drinks as well as a masseuse offering massages.
“We’re very lucky here in Santa Clarita to have some incredible paseos to run on,” said Stephanie Yoshida, another team captain. “It really just brings the community together and allows us to meet incredible friends — we’ve become one big family.”
Spurlin and both said they’d never run a marathon before joining the group.
“This year was my very first L.A. Marathon,” Yoshida said. “We’ve had a 100% finish rate at both the Santa Clarita Marathon and the L.A. Marathon.”
“I was never going to run a marathon either and now I’m on No. four,” Spurlin added. “It’s very inspirational.”
Spurlin went on to describe the support they receive from fellow club members, especially for the longer runs.
“We have such an amazing team that the people who aren’t running create support teams, so at certain miles we’ll have water, watermelon, aspirin, whatever they need — just like a race,” Spurlin said.
Team Runners Lane meets every Thursday and Saturday at Runners Lane, which is located at Runners Lane 22959 Soledad Canyon Road. For more information, visit runnerslane.com/marathon-training-group or call 661-260-3368.