For Sam Crowther, preparation for the annual News and Sentinel Half-Marathon in Parkersburg is a year-long process.
"The main thing is to stay in shape all year," he said. "Get a good base to build on and try to increase mileage progressively."
Crowther, 55, of Marietta, knows a thing or two about the importance of staying active.
As the director and chair of the athletic training program at Marietta College, he deals with Pioneer athletes on a daily basis as well as molds the minds of hopeful athletic training students.
In that sense, Crowther tries set a good example on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
"As an athletic trainer, you try to stay in shape as far as practicing what you preach," he said.
"It's important to be able to relate to students and be a good role model."
Crowther learned the importance of a year-long training regimen quickly after his first attempt at trying to run the half-marathon.
"My first time, I figured I would just go do it," he said.
"That was a real wakeup call in terms of how hard it is. After that, I just wanted to pick it up as far as a physical level. It's always something to shoot for."
Since then, Crowther has made a ton of progress. Last year, he finished in one hour, 41 minutes and 10.1 seconds to finish 140th overall and 13th in his age division.
"I just try to be up there in my age group," he said. "I seem to usually finish 1:45 or less, so I'll try to keep it there."
Crowther said that while it's a good way stay active, the half-marathon also provides a competitive spirit as well as an enjoyable experience.
"I really just do it for the fun of it," he explained.
"It's nice to get to compete and train for something. The training is the fun part. It's just a fun event. It's always good to see everybody in the Parkersburg community."
The 2013 News and Sentinel Half-Marathon, which will travel through the historical Julia-Ann district and downtown Parkersburg, is scheduled for an 8:10 a.m. start on Aug. 17.
More than 800 participants are expected.