Unlike past years, the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon will be offering different incentives in the coming months to encourage early registration for the race.

This week is one amazing incentive.

ontherun-300x155Every person who comes down to OnTheRun to register for the race this Saturday afternoon will reason a huge discount from OnTheRun!

This goes for all 3 races, the marathon, half marathon or 5K

The Discount

  • $15 off any purchase of $50 or more
  • spend $100 you get $30 off your purchase and so on

Use your discount for running shoes, apparel or accessories.


  • Saturday, October 6
  • 12:00PM to 5:00PM


  • OnTheRun
  • McHenry Village
  • 1700 McHenry Avenue, Suite A13
  • Modesto, CA 95350

We recently received this letter from a Modesto Marathon 5K participant. It was such a touching story that we had to share it with you.


“You RUN?  Why would you want to do that??”  “You should take up something that’s not so hard on you, like biking.”  “You know, roller blading is way easier on your knees and back.”

These are all statements that friends (friends, mind you…not strangers) have made to me when they found out I’m a runner.

Let me say that again; I’m a runner.

First of all, it took me a long time to allow myself to call myself a runner.  A runner was something I always wanted to be, but I never thought I was good enough to claim the title.  I ran everywhere I went as a kid, but that was just being a kid.  After reaching adulthood, I gave up the dream of running to follow more “normal” paths.  Wife, mother, grandmother, working woman, friend…all noble things, and all of which I am proud and happy to be, and none of which I regret being for an instant.

I had friends in high school that went on to run with state and college teams.  I was in awe of them.  But I put away my dreams of being a runner and moved forward with the life I had chosen, and it’s been a good life.  I’m surrounded by a loving family, and I will always consider that to be the most important thing in my life.  I earn a decent living and I have a decent home.  But a funny thing happened on my way to middle age; I got a little heavy.  No, let’s be honest…I got fat.  And then I got unhappy with who I was and what I was becoming.  And that, surprisingly, led me down the path of fulfilling my dream.

After about 10 years of waiting for the weight loss fairy to appear and magically make me young and thin again, I figured out she wasn’t coming.  Since it had become an effort for me to even climb the stairs to my office at work, I finally decided to do something about my situation.  And, really, we truly are the only ones responsible for whom and what we are.  So the first thing I did was join a weight loss organization.  Over the next 14 months I lost nearly 80 pounds.  And like any good weight loss organization, they not only taught me about proper nutrition and portion size, the encouraged activity.  Any sort of activity, just so I actually got up a few minutes a day and engaged in something purposeful.

Since I had this really nice cloths rack that doubles as a treadmill, I figured I could clean it off and spend a few minutes a day walking on it.  I started with 10 minutes a day, and I must admit that I did NOT do it everyday.  But every few days I would think, “Gee, I really should get on that tread mill again…”, and over the next several months I worked up from a 10 minute walk to a 45 minute jog…a really BORING 45 minute jog.  I hated it.

But, I remembered loving to run when I was a kid.  I remembered how it made me feel…alive, strong, powerful, confident, independent, free.  Was it possible to ever feel that again?  It had been at least 35 years since I had run like that.  But a crazy idea formed itself in my head.  I didn’t put a time frame or deadline to it, but I decided to set a goal for myself to run in a 5k.  Not knowing how to even begin working toward that goal, and not realizing I had already begun working toward it when I spent my first 10 minutes walking on the treadmill, I went online and Googled running clubs for my area, found Shadowchase, and sent in my application and registration fee.

So, one day shortly after that, I dug out my old spandex shorts from years prior, back when I was thin and thought I wanted to work out in a gym, (ho hum…boring…), and since I was still in the process of shedding those extra pounds, a very loose fitting shirt to wear over them.  After a few minutes of almost standing on my head, I also found some old running shoes in the back of the closet, (purchased to make a fashion statement, not to actually run in…), and I put everything in a back pack to take with me to work the next day.  My plan was to stop at the park and to see how far I could get on the 5k course the club had marked out on the running path.

To my astonishment, I ran the entire 5k without stopping.  Granted, a lot of folks could have walked it faster than I ran it, but that had very little impact on how surprised and proud I was.  And, miracle of miracles, I wasn’t bored for a single one of the 45 minutes it took me to do it!  About twice a week, every week, for the next 6 months, I would either go to the park or run 3 miles through my neighborhood.  Then, nearly a year after the idea first entered my head, I found myself at the starting line for my very first 5k; Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k.

The horn sounded, the runners took off, (all 900 or so of us!), and I was actually racing.  It was an amazing feeling!  The air was crisp and clear, the streets were wet from the rains we had the night before, and running through the streets of the city with so many others for the very first time is an experience I’ll never forget.  I could hear each foot fall, each breath.  I watched the line of runner extend further and further into the distance in front of me, and yet I passed many runners too.  An old man.  A small child.  A teenager who wasn’t as all powerful as he thought he was when he started out.  I was one of many taking part in a wonderful experience that was both group activity and independent effort; trying to be the best while hoping the same for everyone else.

Then, in what seemed like forever and yet no time at all, I was coming around the final turn heading for the finish line.  Everyone was trying to give it their all as they sprinted to the finish.  People I had been pacing myself with suddenly ran away from me like I was standing still.  I ran as hard as I could, sucking air and feeling like the earth’s atmosphere did not hold enough oxygen to fuel my screaming lungs.  And then I was across the finish; 33 minutes and 41 seconds; my fastest time at that point in my running.

My goal for that first race was just to not finish last.  I did more than not finish last; I finished 7th out of 36 women for my age group, 148th out of 620 females, and 342nd out of 990 finishers, both male and female.  And that’s not counting the 160 entrants that didn’t finish.  Considering where I started from a year before, I didn’t think that was bad at all.  I’ve now run 6 races so far this year, and I’ve finished in the medals in 3 of those races.

And why do I want to do this?  I love to run.  I’ve come to believe THAT, if nothing else, makes you a runner; the simple of love of running.  I think about running all day.  I dream about running when I sleep.  I read about form and nutrition and training methods.  I talk about running to anyone who will listen.  I believe that runners will run through pain, will run in the rain or the heat or the cold, will run when the rest of the household is sleeping, simply because they love to run.  For me at least, it’s not about achieving the runner’s high.  I’m not even sure you can get a runner’s high in 3.1 miles.  For me, it’s about the feeling I get with the very first stride.  Alive.  Strong.  Powerful.  Confident.  Independent.  Free.

I was a running club member for over a year before I started becoming active with the group, so not many people in the club know who I am and whether I’m with the walkers or the runners.  At a club BBQ last night, several people asked me if I was a walker or a runner.

I am a runner.

– Julie A. Stanley

marathonhatThe Modesto Marathon hats were such a hit last year that we brought them back for the 2013 race.

Let everyone know you are training for the Modesto Marathon by wearing the official hat on your runs.

For only $12.00, this hat is a real bargain.

Where Can I Get My Hat?

There are several opportunities this month to purchase your new running hat. There are even ways to get a hat for FREE.

Hats will be available for purchase at all 3 of the training program meetings.

If you register for the marathon or half marathon at a training program meeting, you will receive a hat for free.

ShadowChase members can also purchase hats at our monthly club meetings.

Don’t wait. Last year’s running hats sold out quickly.


Clear Channel Radio is airing a public service announcement for the Modesto Marathon.

Click the link below to listen to it.

2013 MM PSA Training

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sonyaanderson-300x199Sonya Decker

2012 SAMM Winner

You are from Minneapolis, MN. What brought you to Modesto to run the 2012 Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon? How did you hear about our race?

I came to Modesto because a friend of mine moved out to Los Gatos and she told me that she was planning to run Modesto. Helen Lavin (who finished 2nd female!) invited me out for a visit at that time, as we both were looking for an early spring marathon and there isn’t anything here in Minnesota at that time of year.  So we realized we both found a marathon that would fit our training/racing schedules and also get a chance to visit.  I’m not able to travel much due to family and work, so it was a rare treat to be able to make a trip to California.  I also really appreciated getting the chance to spend time with one of my favorite training partners whom I really miss.

Did you think you’d have a chance of winning the race when you decided to run here?

I was not thinking that I would be in a position to win the race, but did feel I could run the kind of time I was hoping for there. In my thinking, winning is about who shows up, which there is no control over. What is within control is working toward being able to run the kind of time I am hoping for, and then seeing where that puts me competitively and doing my best at that point.  It was helpful to run the first half with Sarah, but after that I ended up on my own trying to push for a sub-3 hour time.

Can you give us a brief running history? How long have you been running? What is your marathon PR, etc.

My competitive running started in my early 30s after my daughter was born.  I enjoyed running for fitness and stress relief since high school, but never raced until then. I kind of accidentally discovered that I was running faster after having my first child, then followed up on someone’s suggestion that I try a race, found that there weren’t a lot of other women around me where I was finishing, and it all started from there. I started seriously training with the marathon as my focus, and eventually was working toward trying to run a time that would qualify me for the Marathon Trials, which back at that time was 2:50.  My PR ended up being 2:51 at Chicago in 2003.

Is the marathon your primary race distance or do you prefer ultras, or shorter races? Trails or road races?

In more recent years, I have started doing ultras and really enjoy those also.  Running ultras has made me a better road runner and vice versa. There is much to learn from each world and the different runners you come across.  Ultras give me a chance to do what I love, which is to go on really long runs – with company!  I feel that same way about roads and trails – I love them both and go back and forth as needed physically and emotionally. Trail running has helped me survive all the training miles, while road running has helped keep some speed. My body usually only gets comfortable with distances of 15K and above. I do the shorter races on our team circuit locally, but they are pretty painful and non-rewarding for me, as I just never have enough time to get in a good groove.  In some ways, I still think the marathon is the perfect distance, since it can truly be raced, yet is so challenging.  Even after trying quite a few ultras and trying to run qualifying times at the 100K distance, I still have serious appreciation and respect for how hard it is to really race a marathon.

What was your favorite part of the 2012 Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon race?

I loved the cool weather – ironically it was unseasonably hot back in Minnesota that weekend and I heard many complaints from friends who were at an 8K team race that same day.  I felt I made the right choice missing that traditional race, as I got a chance to run a distance I prefer in conditions that I prefer!  Who would have thought it would work to go from Minnesota to California to get a cooler race day?  I also enjoyed the chance to run a flat course in a well-organized event.

Was there something you’d like to see us improve upon?

The only suggestion I have is to spread your volunteers out a bit more at the water stations – I was concerned that I might have some issues getting enough fluids on the course as that is sometimes the case in smaller marathons.  But there were definitely enough aid stations; the only challenge was that I needed to grab a few cups at some and could usually only get one.

What are your goals for the coming year?


I would love to still get in under 3 hours for the marathon – it annoys me to be just over that mark after running many sub 3 times in the past.  (I ran 3:01 at both Modesto and Chicago last fall).  So when I finished at Modesto, I was disappointed with narrowly missing again, but had the follow-up reaction of being happy to win it and still be running competitive times. Many of my past training partners are not able to race anymore due to injuries – there is not a day that I head out for a run or race where I don’t appreciate how fortunate I am to still be doing what I love!

Do you have any advice for new runners?

My advice is to be as consistent as possible with your training in terms of getting out for runs and go with the hard/easy philosophy as far as pushing very hard for some runs and then truly recovering on others. My opinion is that watches that tell you everything about pace have messed some runners up about going easy enough on their easy days – I don’t look and instead go by feel – if I feel like it’s not easy enough then it’s not no matter how slow the watch says I’m going.  Also mix things up with roads/trails and different distances. I attribute these factors as keeping me at least somewhat within the ballpark of my old times as a masters runner.

What’s the best running advice anyone has given you?

The best advice I received is to appreciate current PRs and standout performances in the moment instead of jumping ahead to what they could be, as we never know when we have run our lifetime PR at a specific distance and it is a shame not to enjoy it.

Will you be coming back to defend your crown?

I would love to come back – if it fits into my training schedule and Helen invites me again.  Hopefully she will read this and take the hint!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lastly, I have run a lot of marathons and was impressed with how well this one was organized and how friendly/helpful the volunteers were, so thank you to everyone involved!!  You all helped us work to get as close to our goals as possible. I was a little nervous the night before Modesto, as the last marathon I ran in California was back in 2004 when I was trying to qualify for the Trials, and I got blocked by a train at mile 2!  Helen was laughing when I saw the train tracks near the course as we were driving it the day before and I wanted to know if we were going to have to cross during the race (some train paranoia).  We also were intrigued about what we were supposed to do at the part of the course that was flooded out by all the water, but magically it had been taken care of the next morning.  It’s thinking about those kind of things that helps your racers be successful and then recommend the race to others and come back themselves.


Hard to believe that it is that time of year again already. Time to start training for the 2013 Modesto Marathon.

This year, our training program will be bigger and better than ever before. We have more coaches, mentors and coordinators to help you get ready to perform at your best on race day.

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An overview of the new Adult Training Program can be found in our website’s Training section.

To get everyone up to speed for this 26-week program, we are having 3 informational meetings:

Hope to see you at one of the meetings and looking forward to running with you.


Clyde Behunin

2012 SAMM Winner
(course record)

You are from St. George, Utah. What brought you to Modesto to run the 2012 Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon? How did you hear about our race?

I found the race online… had planned on doing LA that same weekend but just didn’t feel good about it for some reason. Then saw this race and we (my wife and I) had lived out in Modesto for a summer selling home security systems about 10 years ago. So I was semi-familiar with the area and decided on Modesto.

Did you think you’d have a chance of winning the race when you decided to run here?

Yes, although nothing is guaranteed. I looked up the previous winning times and decided that with a decent race and barring no really fast guys showed I’d have a chance.

Can you give us a brief running history? How long have you been running? What is your marathon PR, etc.

I ran in high school and college but nothing amazing. I started running marathons with the St. George marathon in 2005 and have been running them ever since. It took a few years of playing with training and figuring out what it was going to take to run a good race but I got really serious in 2007 and ran a PR of 2:25 at STG. I’ve won 3 marathons, and have high finishes in several others; 18 full marathons. I finished 97th overall in the 2007 Boston Marathon.

Is the marathon your primary race distance or do you prefer ultras, or shorter races? Trails or road races?

I’m a marathoner, but will run other races to “train” for the marathon. Halfs, 10ks, and I’ve even done a few 50ks, 40 mile runs and every year on my birthday I run my age. 🙂

What was your favorite part of the 2012 Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon race?

It was a picture perfect day! Cool, calm and crisp. I loved running through the cool morning air out in the blooming orchards. I could run marathons the rest of my life and maybe not have better conditions than we had that morning. Plus it’s an awesome spectator course so I was able to see my wife at about 6 different places.

Was there something you’d like to see us improve upon?

I think you guys did a great job! Honestly we really enjoyed this one. With the solid foundation you’ve already built and super flat, awesome course, I think this race will only grow.

What are your goals for the coming year?

Short term is to get healthy. I ran the Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon in Ventura around the first part of June and took second. Then shortly after that I was out on my boat and wrecked on the wake board really bad — messed my ankle up … bad! So I’d like to run STG in October and maybe CIM in December but training is slow going with an ankle injury… .

Do you have any advice for new runners?

Be consistent. If you’re going to run you need to get out at least 6 days a week and just run. There’s no other secret.

What’s the best running advice anyone has given you?

That when in a big race and running against tough competition the other competitors are “lions” (at the time I felt like a monkey) and they own the jungle (race). But as my training improved someone told me I was at least a baby lion and was growing into a tougher competitor and would — if I believed and worked hard enough, become a lion someday.”

Will you be coming back to defend your crown?

I want to. We had a great time. It just depends on my ankle and how fast it heals up and if I decide to go run Boston this year or not.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m glad I came. Not just because I won, but because it is a great course and that day turned out to be a great one. Here is my blog write up of the race.

pace-wristband-159x300One of the keys to achieving your best marathon time is to keep an even pace throughout the race. Go out too fast and you’ll hit the wall, go out too slow and you won’t be able to make up the time later (but you may feel more rested at the end). Determine the pace that you believe you can honestly achieve and stick to it.

Use these wristbands to guide you through those miles (or kilometers) when your mind can’t do the math anymore (or you want to save your concentration for your race). Of course you may need to modify these numbers to take account of the local terrain – but these pace bands will help you along.

Create your Marathon Pace Wristband here.

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Read more

This week, stay hydrated, be cautious about what you eat (think healthy), and stay healthy with lots of hand washing and avoiding sick people. Later in the week, lay out every item you need for race morning (shoes, shorts, socks, gels, hydration pack, etc. etc). Pin your bib to the front of your shirt after visiting the Expo.


The half and full marathon start at 7am. Arrive at least one hour prior to the race.

Wake up early enough to take care of everything you must do (eat and drink, visit the bathroom, dress, etc.).

Make a plan to meet your family members and friends at a designated time and place after the race.

Depart for the race site with plenty of time to spare, arrive early enough to park, use the porta-potty, and take care of any last minute details.

Stay off your feet as much as possible prior to the race.

During the Marathon

Don’t start too fast. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and leave the chute at a pace faster than what you’re accustomed to.

Aid Stations

Do not pass up any aid stations on the marathon race course. While it’s acceptable to drink just water in the early miles, runners MUST consume sports beverages no later than 60 minutes of running (and earlier if possible).  At the aid stations, positioned about every 2 miles, water and GU Brew is offered. If you’re not sure what’s in the cup (water or sports drink), politely ask. If necessary, walk through the aid stations to be sure that you are able to consume the entire contents of the cup. If you choose to stop and drink, please stay out of path of approaching runners.  The aid stations will have salt caps as well.  Ask for one if you need it (you can take one about every hour).   Some runners will throw their cups on the ground at the aid station. This is acceptable.  It’s NOT acceptable to throw the cup on the ground past the aid station!  This goes for gel wrappers and other trash as well.  The volunteers appreciate a smile and a simple thank you from runners; we can’t do this without their time and energy.

Take time to enjoy the spectators, participants, and the scenery of the course.

Stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks.  Repeat your mantra over and over.

Think about how proud family members and friends will be of you and your accomplishment.

Immediately Following the Race

Visit the VIP Tent to get something to eat and drink.   If you plan to celebrate with a little alcohol, wait until you’ve had a nutritious meal.  Stretch and keep moving to minimize muscle soreness. Resist the urge to lay down or take a LONG nap. Soaking your legs in cold water aids recovery.  Take time to celebrate your huge accomplishment!
Take it all in!  You’ve accomplished something very few people in the general population have ever done!  Your final race time is less important than the medal you’ll adorn yourself with upon crossing the finish line, not to mention the lifetime of memories. I once heard this…”The real troopers are those who are out on the course far longer than the front runners, they are on their feet longer and may even have more determination to keep moving forward!”
Enjoy the race! You’ve worked hard and whether know it or not, you’ve inspired others along the way.
The finish line isn’t the end.  This journey has no end! I’ve enjoyed being a part of this with you.

Vicky-King-2012Vicky King of Salida wasn’t supposed to be running the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon on March 18. She was supposed to be home with her hubby, celebrating 34 years of wedded bliss. But when she couldn’t find a marathon she wanted to do about the same time, she got the blessings she needed from her husband, she ran, and boy is she thankful. King is the winner of the SAMM first-time Boston qualifier contest! She wins $1,000 toward her dream trip to compete in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” said a stunned King. “What news! Oh my goodness!”

King did the SAMM half marathon last year. “Modesto just kept tugging at me (this year), for many reasons. It’s local. My family could come watch me. … It’s a fast course. I really, really enjoyed it. This is my backyard. … The orchards and the fields were just beautiful. And the people out there were amazing!”

King qualified for Boston in only her second marathon. Her first was the inaugural Santa Barbara Marathon in 2010, where she ran well at 4:11:10, with her only goal to complete the course. But in Modesto, she had the “ultimate dream” of qualifying for the prestigious Boston Marathon. “My friends kept urging me to enter the contest.” This is the second year SAMM has sponsored the contest.

“I was trying to do under 4 (hours) on the clock,” she said. “Actually, I wanted to do 3:59:59. But when the 4-hour pacer went by me and started getting out of sight, I thought, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” King said her quads were cramping for half the race and she felt like she was all over the place, literally kicking herself in the ankles. But she persevered and when she turned the corner to head toward the finish line, she knew she could qualify for Boston.

King has been running since 2005, when she was undergoing some stressful times in her life. She entered her first race at age 49 — the 5K Lodi Easter run —  to “celebrate God and what He had done” in helping her get past her struggles.

Now the biggest struggle King has to face is finding airfare and a place to stay in Boston, while navigating the rules of applying for the Boston Marathon … all new territory for her. “This is monumental,” she exclaimed.

And by the way, while King was traversing the Modesto Marathon course, her husband, a massage therapist, was busy in the finish line area giving out free massages to runners. And they had plenty to celebrate that evening.

Congratulations, Vicky!