Pink tutu + magnificent mustache + highway patrolman = 15K 

By Norene Prososki

      I focused on my daughter Jenny’s bright orange trail shoes as we ran down the far side of the

 insanely steep hill we’d just climbed. The pace was fast for me, but I was keeping up, and that felt 

good. Golden sunlight streaming through the trees formed a green and amber canopy over the rocky 

trail. The air was cool and crisp against my skin, and the finish line was less than a mile away. 

I’ve never felt so alive as I did at that moment Sunday, flying down that hill, following those orange

shoes, headed toward the finish line. 

      This was the second year my husband Tim, our daughter Jenny and I ran the 15K course at the Bass

 Pro Outdoor Festival’s Dogwood Canyon Trail Runs. Last year, with my heart pounding and lungs 

heaving, I struggled up and down those steep and rocky hills, stopping several times along the way for 

much-needed rest breaks. This year, my feet were light, and my legs were strong. We didn’t stop once. 

And it’s all because of a pink tutu, a magnificent mustache and a highway patrolman.

Idiots Running Club members, some in pink breast cancer awareness shirts and some wearing the famous bright yellow were seen all over the trails at Dogwood Canyon Sunday, Oct. 20.

This photo of David, taken at Dogwood Canyon a few
years ago, gives a glimpse of the beauty of the trails
and creek crossings, but doesn’t come close
to showing how steep the hills are over there.
      David Murphy, wearing his famous pink tutu to raise money for the American Cancer Society, was running more than three times the distance my little family was attempting. Adorned with ribbons bearing the names of 80 people who have battled cancer, the tutu and its owner would be out on the rugged trails a little more than five hours, covering more than 31 miles – 50 kilometers. The distance is nothing new to the 41-year-old Wasola ultra-marathoner, who’s now training for his fifth Rocky Raccoon 100-mile run in Texas this February. 

April and Jon Wilson ran the 25K 
      David and his friend, Gainesville High School teacher Jon Wilson, who has the most magnificent mustache I’ve ever seen, started the Idiots Running Club a little more than a year ago. Astonishingly, the club, an online social media group of runners, has grown to almost 2,000 members and will be featured in the December issue of Runner’s World magazine. The IRC is one of the biggest reasons I was outside Sunday, running on those hilly trails in Lampe, instead of lying in my soft bed that morning. 

PrsFit Coach Jeff Kline
Through the IRC, I met Coach Jeff 

Kline of PrsFit, who designed a training program specifically for me – a 

struggling, constantly injured,  often-whiney, wanna-be runner. His 

encouragement and knowledge have proved invaluable over the past 

year. Running is very hard. It’s hard for everyone – even the gifted runners

 like David. I’ve started fitness programs many, many times before and

 always quit when things got uncomfortable. I probably would’ve quit 

running too if it hadn’t been for the support and help I got from the Idiots 

Running Club and PrsFit. Without those brilliant and dedicated “Idiots” 

and Coach Jeff, I’m not sure I would have made it through the pain

 required to reap the benefits of running. 

As I was skimming down that hill, my muscles feeling strong and light, 

focusing on those orange shoes flying in front of me, I couldn’t help but gush, “This is it, Jenny. This is

 why we got up all those mornings to run. This is what all the training is for!”

      That wonderful feeling of accomplishment made the run worth every drop of sweat, every aching

 muscle, every heaving breath.

      As we were running our 15K, the shortest distance offered at Dogwood Canyon, I thought about several other Ozark County IRC runners who were out on the same trails that morning. The fastest was Charley Hogue, a Missouri State Highway Patrol sergeant. A four-time winner of the White River Marathon in Cotter, Ark., Hogue is the first “real” runner I ever talked to about running. I was about 60 pounds overweight at the time, I’d just quit smoking and I got out of breath simply walking across my yard. It was the Fourth of July, and we were at a barbecue at my sister’s house. Charley was hungry that evening because he had run some huge distance that morning. I was amazed at how far he had run and said, “Wow, I wish I could run, but I’ve never been able to, even when I was young. I just can’t do it.”  

The famous Charley Hogue
      He said, “You can do it, Norene. All it takes is time and effort, but

 you can do it if you want to.” 

      I didn’t believe him at the time, but I never forgot what he said. 

      How powerful those words turned out to be: You can do it.

      Out on the Dogwood Canyon Trails Sunday morning, Charley

 yelled “Go, IRC!” as he flew past Jenny and me like we were standing

 still. He went on to take first in his age group, placing third overall out

 of 325 runners in the 25K distance. His mother, Evelina Hogue, took

 second in the age 55-59 female division of the 15K. On Nov. 3, they’ll

 both be at Bass Pro in Springfield, where Charley will run the full

 marathon and Evelina will take on the half.

Tim, me and Jenny. I’m hoping my other daughter,
Jessica, will be with us next year. She just started
running a few months ago and it would be a blast
to have her with us in 2014. All four of us will be at
Bass Pro Nov. 3. Tim and I are running the full, and
Jessica and Jenny are running the half.

I knew my 

husband Tim 

would finish 

long before Jenny and I did, and I couldn’t 

wait to hear how he did. Sure enough, he was 

waiting for us as we crossed the finish line. 

He had already changed out of his sweaty 

clothes, so I knew he’d had a good run. He 

finished 40 minutes faster than he did last 

year! I wound up finishing 21 minutes faster, 

and Jenny was also faster than last year. We 

all shared a big group hug to celebrate.

    Melissa Hayes of Gainesville won third 

place in the age 30-34 female division of the 

15K. She often runs with her friend Mindy 

Pippin, who was taking on her longest race 

ever, the 25K. Mindy’s husband, Billy, was 

also running the 25K for the first time and 

came in a few minutes behind his wife. “I’m already thinking about next year,” Billy said later.

      April Wilson, Jon’s wife, also ran the 25K for the first time. “Whew! That was tough,” she said. 
      No kidding, I thought. I was having a hard time imagining going that far over all those hills. But

 now that it’s over, I’m thinking … maybe next year …

       But for now, I’m concentrating on Nov. 3, when I’ll run my very first full marathon. Who would’ve

 thought that a pink tutu, a magnificent mustache and a highway patrolman could make such a

 difference in a chubby, middle-aged grandma’s life?

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