Vol. 20, No. 15
May 3, 2001
Men's track coach trains champions and novices
From beginners to national champions, from ages 22 to 80, from physicians to retirees, approximately 30 men and women turn out Tuesday nights for the joy of running.
"We just call ourselves the 'Tuesday Night Runners.' I wish I could think of a better name, but this one works," said Jim Fischer, intercollegiate athletics/health and exercise sciences, who has volunteered to coach runners from the community for the past 17 years. At UD, Fischer coaches men's track and field and cross country.
"Any adult beyond college age, whether a novice or experienced runner, is welcome at the running sessions. The University has been supportive in letting us use its tracks for the sessions," Fischer said.
The sessions start with warm-up exercises, followed by a variety of workouts where participants walk or run at their own speeds and distances and conclude with cool-downs.
"I'm there to give advice on developing different aspects of fitness, such as endurance or strength. There are a variety of training workouts, such as stretching and running drills, and I try to work with the runners individually," he said.
Nadine Marks, physical therapy, is a Tuesday night runner and also assists Fischer coaching the men's long distance and cross country track teams.
"Jim is a good motivator," she said. "Some coaches work with a group as a whole, but Jim takes a personal approach and tries to help each person individually in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. He has lots of knowledge and information, which he shares, about nutrition, weight training and ways of increasing stamina, such as running up hills. He is a great guy to work with."
A competitive runner in high school and at Mt. St. Mary's in college, Marks is a sponsored runner of Saucony sports shoes. She has won the Delaware State 10K and the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon. Now, she is moving to shorter, quicker races and is improving and continuing to beat her personal records as she trains.
She and Mike DiGennaro, who graduated from UD in January, ran in the Olympic Development races at the Penn Relays in April.
Fischer said there are other outstanding runners among the Tuesday nighters, including those entered in master's competitions for those over 40. Jack Starr, at 72, is National Master Walker of the Year; Ray Blackwell, a cardiac surgeon at Christiana Hospital, is former masters world record holder in the 400 m. and holds a new American master's record.
Another Tuesday nighter is Greg Watson, ranked fourth in the world in the duathalon where athletes run, bicycle and run again.
Fischer has been at UD for 19 years and is a graduate of Augsburg College with master's degree from the University of Minnesota.
Photo by KATHY FLICKINGER