Kinesiology’s marathon training class goes the distance

On Sunday, May 3, 101 students who enrolled in one of the most popular physical activity courses in the School of Kinesiology took their final test early. They ran in the Eau Claire Marathon and every one of them passed.

The course, PE 1262 Marathon Training, is in its seventh year of extraordinary success. Dr. Stacy Ingraham, Kinesiology senior lecturer and director of the Human and Sport Performance Laboratory, has taught the class since it was first offered, when 48 students signed up for a semester of hard training and lectures that Marathon 2015culminated in an annual marathon held in Eau Claire, WI. The class has attracted more students each year, and this spring 107 students signed up. “Over seven years we’ve had a total of 528 starters and 525 finishers–a 99% finish rate,” says Dr. Ingraham. This year’s unexpected temperatures in the 80s caused three students to drop out for medical reasons before finishing, the first time that’s happened in the course’s history.

“One of the goals of the class is to use the science of running as much as we can,” says Dr. Ingraham. She points to the 11 research articles that have come out of the department based on scientific information gleaned from runners’ experiences. But just as gratifying for Dr. Ingraham has been the development of a course at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire patterned after PE 1262. Instructors from the physics and kinesiology departments there consulted with her as they were developing their own marathon course. This year, 40 of their students ran in the marathon and 60 in the half-marathon.

Dr. Ingraham and Dr. Chris Lundstrom, who co-teaches the class, traditionally host a pasta dinner and banquet in Eau Claire the night before the race. This year 229 family members, friends, and runners attended. “It’s justĀ  so inspiring to see how many have been touched by this experience,” says Dr. Ingraham.

Read Fox 9’s interview with Dr. Ingraham and her students here.