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Testimonials

Danny-

You are the best and you will never know the inspiration you have been to so many!  The names of those who pay for participation are simply such a small percentage of the people who have benefited from your program and become life long running enthusiasts. You wouldn't believe how many people say, "Oh, you know him," or "Oh, you actually ran with him?"  You have become quite the hero to so many by inspiring people to overcome their fear of such a fantastic form of therapy!  Aside from the physical benefits, you wouldn't believe how much better I have slept since running, which translates to handling stress better and a lowered blood pressure!  We may have pounded the pavement, but you have shown us the way and deserve way more credit than you'll ever get (along with your great team of partners, lest I forget!)

Andrea

 

 

Danny,

Thank you so much for such a phenomenal opportunity!  There were days when I thought I was in over my head, but your inspiring (yet funny) emails throughout the weeks kept me going.  I remember an email you sent with a quote from one of George Bernard Shaw's playwrights that says "Life is not about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself"...

Today, I can say I've been created into a runner and it's because of you and your program.

Through this journey, I've had highs and lows - I've made several friends, unimaginable accomplishments (1/2 marathon :-)), falls and injuries, but the highs outweigh the lows and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thank you and God Bless!

Marshey

 

 

It's hard for me to describe how great it felt to finish the Mercedes Half Marathon on Sunday. All of this was due to Run University and the extraordinary efforts of Danny Haralson.

As a lapsed former runner, I had reached a low point in 2009 of having little motivation to exercise.  I had completed a half marathon in 1997 but it was long ago and distant in my memory.  I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it.  All I knew were familiar excuses (too tired from work, the weather, etc).  I played those tapes over in my head and actually added a new one - "running is bad for you anyway!!"

In desperation I signed up for Danny's class in the fall.  I was a little unsure of what to expect, having never run with others.  The thing that struck me most was the group's diversity.  It included people from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all ages.  Also, there were social people and those who were more solitary or ran with music (me!).

If you are considering signing up - JUST DO IT!  Danny's group is special because it works for a variety of fitness levels.  The group has a collective laid-back feel.  There is a lack of judgement and lots of encouragement.  The excitement builds as you start to realize you can do 3 miles, then 5, and so on.  You learn that there will be good runs and not-so-good runs and you adjust.  You begin to eagerly anticipate the next email from Danny with instructions.  Then you build your week accordingly - and willingly.

Back to my experience.  I knew I was hooked on October 21st.  Our group met at 5:30 a.m. to do the famous 5-mile "sunrise run" from the Mountain Brook YMCA.  I had only run it once before and was nervous about going the distance.  I loathe early mornings and was feeling particularly tired that day. In addition, it was my birthday and I worried about starting off my 44th year with such a daunting challenge.  What if I failed?

After completion of the 5 miles I felt ageless.  That is what running does for you.  It transcends age, empowers you, and makes you feel alive.

A million thanks, Danny.

Ann

 

 

Hi Danny,

I am really excited about this weekend but also anxious because I will really miss the training schedule and group runs.  Would you by any chance be doing a training group for the Talladega 21000 (half) in April??  My nephew signed with U of AL to play golf starting next year and they have already started his training program (he really didn't have one before except an occasional run and hitting a lot of golf balls).  One thing they have him doing is running and he has been inspired by my goal of running the Mercedes this weekend.  He likes NASCAR so I thought the Talladega Half would interest him and wanted to see if you had a training group for it or one that would align with it.

I also wanted to say Thanks again for all of your help, advice and encouragement...modifying my running schedules, blister advice, the jokes, etc, etc :)

Another thing I debated to share or not is why I started this program to begin with...you know, my late entry, etc, but here goes.....  I was laid off last June from BCBSAL...my job was my life, unfortunately, and although my dad would be proud that "I put a grin on and pulled myself up by my bootstraps', it was really hard emotionally.  The job hunt has been long, tedious with no luck so far but  in Oct I decided I needed something to give me focus so I contacted you about joining the group late.  Not to get sappy, well yeah, but training with you and this group has really helped me in dealing with the 'emotional' aspects of being laid off.  Your emails not only helped motivate the run and the training but they definitely applied to my looking for a job and getting through this hard time as well.  So thanks again!!

See you Tues Night!!

Dana

 

 

Danny,

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you making running accessible to the non-runner.  The couch to 10K to half-marathon program has opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I originally was not sold on the idea of training for a half-marathon, but two friends (Suzanne Mullis and Andi Moore) were interested and I came to the Make A Wish meeting just to check it out.  I left the meeting having signed up (I am a sucker for an inspirational talk) but not yet ready to commit to the half-marathon.  It was not until the miles were ticking by in October that I realized this was actually attainable.  Not that I doubted your past successes, I just wasn't sure it was something for me.  I grew up a swimmer but never liked running so I wasn't sold on the running is fun motto.

Of course like everyone I have a story- John Sweeney may have already shared it with you but if not I thought you may enjoy it.  Five years ago I had a double lung transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis.  I grew up pretty healthy and CF was only a minor inconvenience in my life.  I credit swimming with a great deal of my early success and never felt limited by my disease.  However in graduate school my lung functions quickly went downhill, and I ended up on oxygen 24/7.  I was 24 and I had only about 25% of my lung capacity and was tethered to an oxygen tank.  Even with my oxygen, I was short of breath all the time and even the smallest of tasks was overwhelming.  It became apparent that a lung transplant was my only hope and it wasn't hard to decide a transplant would be worth the risk.  I was listed and put my life on hold until I could breathe again.  I took a leave of absence from graduate school and moved home- not that fabulous at 24.  After 9 months and 2 false alarms, I finally got the call and my second chance.  Life after transplant has been amazing!  I had no idea how limiting my old lungs were until I had my new "normal" ones.  Exercise wasn't something new to me but the capacity for which I could push myself was brand new.  Running is the one sport that was always beyond my reach and I've always felt it was something I could not do.  Even post transplant I was unsure if I could run.  It took me four years to even attempt it but once I did and struggled through the initial start up, I was running.  And now I am running 20+ miles a week and truly in awe of my ability thanks to you.  I am not sure I love running but I love that I can run!  Who knows maybe my donor was a runner and I'm channeling their passion. :  )  Accomplishing this half marathon is a goal I could never have imagined setting much less achieving.  Now with less than two weeks and Saturday's practice run behind me, I know I'll be celebrating my success on February 14!  I realize this is an amazing feat for everyone in the group as we all come with our own stories, but I have to say I feel blessed to be here.  Thank you for the opportunity and guidance you have provided for me to accomplish the not-so-long-ago un-accomplishable!  It has been fun!

Thanks for all the time and work that you put into the program, as well as, your commitment to our success.  You are truly changing each of us for the better and allowing us to surpass our own limits.

Mary

 

 

completed Danny Haralson’s C25K program almost two years ago now and it is without a doubt one of the best things that I ever decided to do.  I am in better shape now than I have been in a really long time and I can run further than I ever dreamed possible.  Not only that, but I met great people who became my training partners and friends and have become part of my life.  Without the accountability and encouragement provided by them and Danny I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far with my running.  Danny’s e-mails, encouragement, tips, advice and general “going above and beyond the call of duty” made it all seem so fun and easy.  He’s graciously helped us with training for every race that I’ve been involved in.  I started the program thinking that I’d just get to where I could easily run a few miles to get some cardio training in.  The next thing I know, I’ve been convinced to do the Vulcan 10K, after that I enjoyed the training and friends so much that I went on to run the Mercedes half marathon the following February.  Now almost two years and four half marathons later running (and my training partners) has become such a part of my everyday life that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without it.  I’m even thinking about running my first marathon, which I NEVER would have even imagined I’d be thinking about two years ago.  I owe a HUGE thank you to Danny, Micki, my fellow runners and all of the “coaches” who have volunteered their time and shared their experience with us.  I would recommend it to anyone!

Jenny

 

I started the Couch program in March of 2006 at the age of 29.  Prior to the program, I went to an occasional low-impact aerobics class, but that was it.  I was getting no sort of cardiovascular workout. For many years I had been telling myself that I was going to and needed to start working out, but nothing ever seemed to motivate me to actually get off my butt and do it.  Then, one day a friend of mine mentioned to me that she was about to start the C25K program.  This peaked my interest for 2 main reasons:  (1) The schedule would give me the regular cardiovascular workout that I needed and (2) it sounded fun.  In high school I had run track, but really had gotten to the point where I hated running.  To me this was an opportunity to get back into shape and learn to enjoy running all at the same time.  As Danny says, essentially all the program is a “social obligation” to run.  I found it refreshing to know that I didn’t have to kill myself to get a good workout.  Danny stresses just covering the distance and running at a conversational pace.  To me, this was a huge breakthrough.  Before the Couch program, I found that when I did try to run (which was rare) I pushed myself so hard that I dreaded doing it the next time….so I didn’t.  After the couch program, I looked forward to my runs, especially the group runs.  In fact, I have met so many wonderful people through the program who I am proud to call friends today!  Everyone is so supportive and eager to help one another in a very non-competitive environment.

When I first started the C25K program, my only goal was to become healthier and make exercise a daily habit.  Little did I know that at my one year and one month anniversary of running I would have under my belt 1 half marathon (Memphis) and 2 full marathons (Mercedes and Nashville).  In fact, I’m in the best shape of my life. While I never dreamt I would run a marathon or even set out with that as a goal, my training just sort of evolved.  Now, I do have a goal.  I would feel very blessed to be able to qualify for Boston one day.  In the event that I can shave another 4 minutes off my time, I will qualify!  I know with Danny’s coaching and motivation and the support of all the other runners, I can do this.

Not everyone has to run a marathon to become a runner.  People of all shapes, ages, fitness levels, paces etc. have started the C25K program and completed it successfully.  In fact, my mother, who never worked out in her life, just completed the Couch program at the age of 61.  Very impressive!  I guarantee if my mother can do it, anyone, regardless of who they are, that is serious about changing his/her life for the better will not fail either.

Thank you, Danny, for changing my life!

Katie Y.

 

My daughter, Stephanie, joined Danny’s’ couch group in 2006. On Feb 10th,
2007
she completed her first half Marathon. I am extremely proud of my her!
She encouraged me to join. Yes, even a 55yr old can run, I speak from experience. I joined the “Couch to 5K” on December 31st, 2006. I have never ran a day in my life. After following Danny’s’ plan, I too was able to run my FIRST 5k, on Feb 10th, 2007!I have lost 16 pounds,and have gained so many good friends!
Danny has made a great impact on so many lives, including mine!!
Thanks Danny for all that you do!!

Regina D's

 

Danny!!!

I did it!!  I finished in 2:21.  My goal was 2:30, so I beat my goal.  I heard all of your words of advice in my head over and over, and they helped me every step of the way.  Green springs was deadly, but I knew my whole family was waiting at the corner of valley and Green Springs.  Then Valley I knew was going to be hard, but the music and distraction of seeing Sammy’s ladies out handing out water took my mind off the first hill, thoughts of my child starting middle school next year got me through the next one, and….anyway I survived Valley.  Key Circle….I just made it.  Started to cry as I made it to the top and I remembered you saying the rest was downhill and straight.  I DID IT!!!  Still can’t believe it.  Due to cold children and baseball tryouts…we didn’t stay very long at Boutwell, so I owe you one big hug sometime when I see you again.  Hope your run was great as well.

Still can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me!!!  I TRULY COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!

Still floating!

Catherine W.

 

Hi Danny,

Hope things are going well. A little more than a week since Mercedes
and two things strike me: (1) I still have this post-race "afterglow" of
happiness! This really was one of my most personally fulfilling
experiences! (2) I miss your emails! OK, I knew it couldn't go on
forever and yes I did try to prepare myself, but I'm going through withdraw!
Thankfully, being a somewhat detailed person, I have archived all of
them and have found myself pulling them up to read through a few of those
quotes. If I start resending them to myself, I'll know I'm in trouble.
Tamie gave us your training schedule for Nashville - I'm excited, but it
will be a little odd going to a big race and not seeing the whole gang.
I
know I have to grow up, and fly from the Couch nest, but it is hard. So
all that to say THANK YOU!

I couldn't let an email go by without asking one real athlete question.
I
did notice towards the end of Mercedes that my arms grew incredibly
tired. It surprised me because I was expecting my legs to feel tired, but it
was my arms. Do you think that doing some upper body strength training
would be a good idea? And if so, what would you recommend and how would I
incorporate it into the running schedule?

One final observation. Whenever you are giving out hints on looking
good for the race photographers, you might want to mention that people with
short foreheads should be sure their head ware is pushed back. I say
this because apparently I have a short forehead! (who knew) and in all of my
photos I appear to be barely able to see from underneath my hat and
earmuffs - Good thing the race wasn't on Groundhog day, because I look
oddly like Puxatony Phil peering out to see his shadow - too funny!

Avril C.

 
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