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Whitney coach always on the run

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Mark Snow has no idea why he entered the American River 50-mile run last April. Whitney High School’s cross country coach never went farther than 25 miles during his training for the event. Snow had never run a marathon, or even a half-marathon, when a friend talked him into going for 50. Snow had to juggle his training time with teaching and coaching the Wildcats track team. His days of running cross country at Riverside Community College and BYU did not do him much good. Snow never crossed the finish line, running out of gas after 41 miles. Even that was quite a feat. A lesson was learned, however. Snow said he started too fast, averaging 8 minutes a mile for the first 10. “I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that,” Snow said. “I would have finished if I hadn’t done that.” His months of training did not go to waste. Snow was ready to roll when his cross country runners began their summer workouts. So were the runners, even when the workouts were at 7 a.m. Snow changed his team’s summer schedule last year after holding training runs at 6 p.m. He thought the later time would provide a break from the heat. The runners took a break – literally. Very few attended. Snow switched to 7 a.m. last year and was surprised by the number of runners who were willing to sacrifice a few winks to train. The morning workouts continued this summer. Snow joined the runners during training sessions to keep an eye on them and gauge their progress. He will continue to run with them during the season if for no other reason than to make a point. “If I’m doing what they’re doing, then they’ll know that I won’t ask them to do anything that I won’t do,” he said. “It is really fun for me. I don’t think I could coach them if I didn’t run with them.” Training with the runners also allows Snow to figure out who is working hard and who is “dogging it.” “They have varying degrees of ability,” he said. “It’s helpful to run with them so I can evaluate them.” Snow is also determined to regain his running shape and training with the team provides him with an opportunity to do that. His teaching and coach schedule leaves him little spare time. He wants to try another 50-mile run. He will be ready once his ego heals from his first attempt. “I’m going to do it again, but probably not this year,” he joked.