Lexington running group the Jets fly in the face of lazy label

The Jets share a passion for running

mmaloney@herald-leader.comAugust 4, 2011 

  • A Midsummer Night's Run

    When: Saturday

    Where: Downtown Lexington


    6 p.m. — 1-mile fun run/walk

    6:35 p.m. — The Fastest Kid in Town race for ages 1-12

    8:30 p.m. — 5K race


    Sign up through Friday at John's Run/Walk Shop, 317 S. Ashland Ave. Register online at Centralbap.com. Sign up on race day, beginning at noon, outside the Hilton Lexington/Downtown Hotel at the corner of Vine and Mill Streets.

  • Stand Up, Lexington

    Men's Health magazine recently named Lexington the least active city in the nation. Today, we're featuring the story of a group of young distance runners. Help us prove that Men's Health — and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, who mocked Lexington on his show — were wrong. In about 100 words, tell us how you get those endorphins pumping. We'll collect the stories and send them to Men's Health and Colbert. We might even publish a few in the newspaper and online. And we've created Stand Up, a Lexington Facebook page where you can post how you're being active. Send information about your activity with your name and a daytime phone number to standuplex@herald-leader.com. Fitness 19 will give an annual membership plus one free personal training session to the first 100 respondents.

As if to say, "Hey, Men's Health magazine — stick this in your 'least active city in America' view of Lexington," Jets have descended on Lexington.

Men's Health recently named Lexington the least active city in America.

The Jets are a loosely affiliated group of young runners directed by Bernadette "Bernie" Madigan Dugan, a five-time All-American at the University of Kentucky (1981-85). They also are a running rebuttal to the magazine's claim.

Saturday, the Jets should factor prominently in A Midsummer Night's Run, the 27th annual 5K run.

The Jets usually meet Mondays and Wednesdays for training runs in Lexington. Participants come from schools across the city, and some travel from as far away as Somerset and Erlanger.

"That certainly is not a lazy group," Dugan said. "I think they are just all so motivated, and they just want to get better."

Former Woodford County standout Anna Bostrom, now preparing for her sophomore year at Kentucky, won last year's run. She hopes to be back Saturday if she can adjust her work schedule.

"I'm always running for the Jets," Bostrom said happily when asked whether she would be wearing a Jets singlet again.

"Bernie is a truly wonderful, amazing lady and really has helped our community a lot, getting people excited about running and just being active."

Bostrom was the oldest finisher in a 1-2-3 Jets finish in last year's race. Second was Maddox Patterson, who will be a Sayre freshman this season, followed by Kaitlin Snapp, a Danville senior.

Snapp will pass up this week's race, but Patterson will use the event to prepare for the high school cross country season. She has won the last two Class A state titles.

"It's mostly just for fun, but I'll try my best just to be up there," Patterson said.

She is part of a strong Sayre connection.

Ann Eason, a recent graduate who will be competing for Eastern Kentucky this season, will run.

So will Spartans assistant coach Andrea Halasek Richardson, a former Scott County and UK standout.

Colleen Crawford Cornelius, Sayre's head coach and also a former UK runner, is considering jumping in, although she also is entered in a cycling event earlier Saturday.

Eason placed fifth in last year's Midsummer. Richardson was right next to her, although her timing chip did not activate, so she was not recorded in the results. Richardson placed second in last month's Bluegrass 10,000, and Cornelius was seventh.

Richardson laughed at the notion of her Sayre understudies being labeled sedentary.

"Not at all, not even close to being sedentary," she said. "I can hardly keep up with them anymore. ... I don't know who (Men's Health is) looking at because everyone I hang out with is not sedentary at all."

"It sounds pretty shocking," Patterson said of Lexington's least-active label. "I know some people who aren't really active, but I would have to agree (with Richardson) — the people I hang out with are pretty athletic."

Eason, 18, had a breakthrough track season as a senior. She won the Class A 3,200-meter run, placed second in the 800 and 1,600, and helped Sayre win the 4-by-800 relay.

"I just really wanted my senior season, my last season, to be really memorable," she said. "I had big goals, and I worked really hard. I had (the state meet) and all the big races on my mind every training run, every workout. That really kind of fueled me."

Saturday's race, while important because it is a local event that attracts thousands of participants, will amount to "a good workout," Eason said. She has been putting in extra mileage in preparation for her first collegiate cross country season.

One benefit of diligent training is being able to indulge in culinary treats.

Patterson loves ice cream, particularly cookies and cream from Orange Leaf.

Eason says she "just kind of eat(s) what I'm hungry for."

Richardson notes that the Sayre runners sometimes will meet near a bakery to start and finish "long" runs on Sundays "because that's always nice, to be right there next to Magee's after our runs for any snacks."

Don't get the wrong idea, though.

"They say they don't watch what they eat but, if you ask them what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they eat very healthily," Cornelius said. "Maddox, Ann — both will talk about how they won't have any carbonated drinks for a certain amount of time, or they'll talk about what they baked over the weekend, and it will be like 'fruit muffins.' "

True Jets fuel.

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