Four years ago, Nancy Weir walked her first half-marathon. She had trained and prepared for months. A few days before the race, she drove her car around the course, mentally preparing herself for the 13.1 miles she would soon face.
The day of the race arrived, and she was ready. The friends she had made in the training program were there with her, ready to walk alongside her. The race began and, just like that, she was participating in her first half-marathon.
Halfway through the walk, she started getting tired. But she had done all of the training and she was not going to give up. As the runners passed by her, they shared words of encouragement.
“It made a huge difference, hearing the runners pass by us and say, ‘Good job, girls! Keep it up!'” Weir said. “And I knew that if I just made it down the canyon to the Ogden Parkway, I could finish from there.”
Weir is an athletic trainer at Weber State University. Between January and May, she is also one of many women involved in a program called Weber in Motion, formerly known as Women in Motion.
Currently, every participant in the program is a woman, and many of them are WSU employees, but the program is available to anyone in the community who has a BMI higher than 30.
“It is very useful to have Nancy with us,” said Julie Hansen, one of the founders of Weber in Motion. “Most of these women in the program have never participated in formal exercise before, so small injuries are common.”
As an athletic trainer, Weir works primarily in handling injuries for the WSU women’s volleyball and softball teams, and she fills in with helping other teams whenever she is needed. Because of this role, she is able to use her skills to help women in the Weber in Motion program.
Most of the injuries Weir encounters are shin splints, blisters and small sprains.
Although she has been involved in the athletic program at WSU for 30 years, Weir realized four years ago that she needed to make a change in her life for her own well-being.
“I’ve tried to stay healthy my whole life, but you get involved in your life and you start to push that aside,” Weir said. “The program has made a huge difference in my life.”
Hansen and Dr. Donna Milivitz started the program at a women’s clinic at the Ogden Intermountain Health Care Center in 2006. It began as an exclusive program for patients who were struggling with their health, but it soon began welcoming women from the entire community.
Hansen helped the program migrate to WSU in 2007. It is an 18-week program designed to educate overweight and obese individuals and train them to walk the Ogden half-marathon.
The $150 fee associated with the program pays for the educational classes and the fee for the marathon, and participants also get a T-shirt from the marathon.
“We don’t stress weight loss,” said Rodney Hansen, the assistant director of the program and a nutrition professor at WSU. “The key is that they have fun doing this and it creates camaraderie as they work together and get healthier in the process.”
The social aspect of the program can be a big motivator for some participants, especially those who have never exercised before. Since the program is geared toward people who are overweight, the participants all have that in common, which can help some get rid of their inhibitions.
“Thinking about walking the half-marathon is scary for someone who has never done it before,” Weir said. “But you start slow and, with the help of friends, you accomplish things you never thought you’d be able to accomplish.”