This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press
Monday, February 11, 2008.
By ERIC BACA
Valley Press Staff Writer
The secret is out about the Antelope Valley's running talent.
In the recent New York Marathon and time trails, the local community saw nearly a dozen participants, ranging in age, tackle what many have dubbed "the beast."
While one secret may have been unlocked, two local runners are hoping to spread a few more.
Clayton Patten and Karl Stutelberg of Valley Physical Therapy provided a free, one-hour sit-down presentation and discussion about the importance of physical maintenance and injury prevention for runners Saturday. In doing so, the two look to open a few eyes to the sport of running, while simultaneously offering sound lessons on proper mechanics and fundamentals to lessen the frequency of common running injuries.
"A lot of runners have similar problems," Patten said. "Runners are just poor athletes. Runners tend to be some of the worst athletes. They run in a straight line, so they don't have to be very athletic. But as we're seeing like in golf with Tiger Woods, you have to be more athletic."
In addition to handouts and warm-up demonstrations, the duo used a Power Point presentation to illustrate and highlight some of the key areas they feel have led to prolonged injuries. After the lecture, the two took questions from a field of 28 attendants, a successful turnout according to Patten.
Patten, though, is slow to acknowledge sheer ignorance of the sport as the reason for many of the problems facing runners. Instead, Patten contests, shoe type, core and hip strengthening, poor flexibility and improper warm-ups are all potentially problematic issues facing today's runner.
"All four of them go together to provide a cumulative effect," Patten said.
One aspect of the sport that Patten and Stutelberg are excited about is the recent (over the last decade) increase in participation. It's precisely because of that increase, though, that fuels the cause that the tandem feels so strongly about.
"It's really anything that anybody can start doing," Stutelberg said. "People are so focused on health, and running can be part of a healthy lifestyle."
Paton, 48, attributes the surge to a back-to-the-future type effect.
"The baby boomers are getting up into age," he said. "A lot of things are going retro, and people are having their mid-life crisis. They are going back to the original running boom of several years ago."
And Paton, with years of formal education and training, is following suit. The difference is the motivation that drives the runner-turned golfer turned-runner again.
Patten rejoined the ranks of the local runners after a 23-year layoff in order to pursue golf. His daughter, an avid golfer, will be attending California State University of Northridge in the fall after years of playing with her dad.
"It's so seldom that I get out there (to the golf course)," Pattensaid.
That infrequency has been replaced by a new 5-year goal. Patten, by year's end hopes to shed 20 minutes off of his marathon time, and plans to do it three years ahead of schedule. Patten will be running in the California International Marathon later this year.
As runners, the two understand first-hand the joys and benefits of racing. That intimate knowledge allows them to provide more than just static data and trite stretches. While the two want to promote a heightened sense of enthusiasm for running, they want to do it the right way. Stutelberg cautions new runners and advises that they seek out professional help when buying the proper equipment.
"You can't just go into a sporting goods store and buy a running shoe," he said. "Sometimes people get into the wrong shoes for them, or they try to run too much mileage without establishing their base strength. If done correctly, and with the right shoes, the positives far outweigh the negatives."
Stutelberg also discounted the idea of running causing long-term damage to one's joints and ligaments. The 28-year-old countered that standing still for long periods of time causes more damage than running.
The two hope to offer more running clinics on a quarterly basis, which would allow them to cover far more subject matter than 60 minutes would suffice.
To follow Pattenon his quest, log on to www.claypatten.wordpress.com or for more information on the local running scene log on to www.highdesertrunners.com.