New running club aims to help people get into the sport

Scott Swanson

Brandon Harvey and Vicki Bauer want to see Sweet Home on the run.

The two say they’ve seen an increase in the number of runners locally over the past couple of years and they’ve decided to start a club, called Beat Feet, to provide support for people who are interested in the sport.

“There’s a growing community of runners here,” said Bauer, who manages Steelhead Strength and Fitness gym with her husband Dave and who is a member of the local Valley Girls, a team that has competed in the Hood to Coast Relay the past two years.

“A lot of them feel like they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t. I’m one of them.”

The goal, she and Harvey said, is to start a team that not only provides help for established runners but can help non-runners get started.

“We’re trying to start a club that’s not specifically for runners,” said Harvey, an ultra-marathoner who got into running about 20 years ago when he joined the Navy after high school and wound up competing for a sponsored team and winning an all-military 10K cross-country championship.

“We want to focus on the training aspects and the health aspects of it. We want to take people who never thought they could run and grow it as a sport in the Sweet Home and Lebanon area.”

To get things started, the two are holding a meeting for interested Beat Feet participants at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, at Steelhead, 1295 Main St.

Harvey and Bauer plan to start things off with a series of monthly talks on proper technique, form, shoes, injury prevention and nutrition. There will also be a display by Strands, a Corvallis-based Web site that offers training logs and assistance for athletes.

In addition to monthly meetings, club activities and benefits will include group runs every other Saturday for advanced, intermediate and beginning runners, training advice and plans, store discounts, events and other social activities.

“The whole point is we can empower people and encourage them to do this running thing so they can be competent,” Bauer said. “We’ll start them slow and they can work up.”

She said she has been wanting to establish a program to help runners but lacked the necessary knowledge of the sport which, she said, Harvey has.

Harvey, then 24, ran a 30:15 10K to win the military championship at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii.

“I smoked ‘em,” he said. “It was a fairly hard course but Wahiawa was the base I was stationed at so I had a home course advantage.”

He said his fastest mile was 4:21 and he’s run under a 5-minute-per-mile pace in some of his races.

“It takes a lot of training,” he said. “I had a coach. A lot of work goes into getting that fast.”

More recently, he said, he has focused on ultra-marathons, events longer than the standard 26 miles, including 50- and 100-kilometer and mile races.

He said he runs around Foster Lake and on Old Holley Road a lot and also runs out-of-town trails, some of them near where he works in Corvallis.

He plans to teach a beginning running class for Linn-Benton Community College’s Community Education program in April that will prepare students to finish a 5K.

“We want to have the club support stuff like that locally,” he said. “

For more information call (541) 367-1904, e-mail [email protected] or visit