Train Now for YMCA Fiesta Days Run

By Bethany BROWN

The 47th Annual Fiesta Days Run, sponsored by YMCA of the Foothills in partnership with USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, takes place on May 30 on Memorial Day. Interested individuals and families can choose from the one-mile Family Fun Run, a 5K walk/run or a 10K run and may register online at Funds raised will help to provide scholarships for campers, program participants and members of the YMCA.

While the community awaits the annual Fiesta Days celebration, the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA will be providing a run training program throughout the month of May. The program is free to all and open to both members and non-members of the Y of all ages. It is designed for runners and non-runners who want to prepare for the upcoming 5K or 10K run. Registration is not required.

Training is on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the upper parking lot/track, 1930 Foothill Blvd. Individuals are welcome to attend all eight sessions or just a few; whatever works within their schedules. The program is held by experienced running coach and longtime YMCA supporter Carolyn Sion.

Sion has coached cross-country and track and field at Rosemont Middle School for the last seven years and coached the family Running Club at YMCA of the Foothills as well as the Y’s gymnastic program for over a decade. She has run over 50 marathons and half marathons, including the Boston Marathon.

She recognizes that the idea of running can be intimidating to people but encourages the community, regardless of physical level or ability, to attend a session and connect with other like-minded people who want to get outdoors and be active.

“It’s really just an opportunity to get out there as a community again,” Sion said. “I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s a huge competition; there is no pressure to force yourself outside of your own ability,” she said. “You can walk, you can skip … I want people to know that it really is for everyone.”

Sion emphasized the unique social aspect of running, and how it has a way to form closeness and relationships that people may not initially consider.

“People typically see running as pain and more pain,” she joked. “But they don’t realize how social it can be. It helps you zone out and forget stressors in life, and just connects with the people around you.”

She hopes that the social environment of running/training will make people more attracted to it, and that they will step outside of their comfort zones to give it a try. For participants, they can expect to learn valuable warmups, exercises and stretches that will be useful as they continue their journeys beyond these sessions.