Quick start for Suffolk running program

Published 9:39 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018


They ran through Lake Meade Park at a steady pace in the heat of Monday evening, past the water tower and around the playground before heading into the wooded trail. The three of them ran about 1.4 miles, a bit longer than the 1.25-mile target set by lead runner and program organizer Shawna LoMonaco.

But neither Karen Balentine or Bobby Noell seemed to mind. Balentine, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife hydrologist technician for the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge, is an avid runner with plenty of races under her belt.


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The first session of “Suffolk’s Got Sole” fit her needs well.

“I’ve been looking for a local group of people to run with,” she said.

Noell had been looking for a way to get back into running for some time. The playground also gave him and his wife, Heather, a fun outlet for their kids Arabella, 4, and Bryce, 7.

“It’s a lot easier to get motivated when you’re running with somebody else,” he said.

“Suffolk’s Got Sole” is an open Suffolk Public Library program that’s free for runners of all skill levels. No registration is required, and runners will meet at a different location and alternate between Monday and Wednesday each week at 6:30 p.m. through July.

“We wanted to engage Suffolk families to get outside and active this summer, and we also wanted to get them out to all of the beautiful parks we have in the city as well,” LoMonaco said.

The distance and difficulty of each session will be tailored to the runners’ skill levels, and each week will bring them to a different part of the city. Not just parks, either.

“We’ll meet at some pretty unique locations throughout Suffolk,” LoMonaco said.

The next session of “Suffolk’s Got Sole” will meet at 6:30 p.m. June 13 at Brick and Mortar Brewing Company, 212 E. Washington St. Bring water and comfortable running clothes. Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com for more information.