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Training for Prairie Fire Marathon with the Mojo of Local Joes

Training with Prairie Fire Local Joes

Oh October, I love you. Cooler temps, pumpkin-spiced everything, and Wichita's Prairie Fire Marathon (#pfm17). Yes, folks, it’s race season! If you are a runner in Wichita, October 8 has been marked on your calendar for months. The Prairie Fire race series is the only full marathon offered in Wichita, and if you are an endurance junkie like me, it’s a must.

To kick off my spring training for Prairie Fire, I applied to be one of the Local Joes, and to my surprise, I was chosen. Local Joes are ten individuals who have agreed to share their fall race training as they all strive to meet first-time goals, redemptive goals, or even bucket list goals. The Local Joes train with the Fleet Feet Sports Start2Finish training program. 

We are a group of ten former strangers—now friends—who spend three days a week training together and countless hours chatting about the woes of running. Though our athletic abilities vary, we are here to show that, with proper training, goals can be achieved.


Prairie Fire Training

Local Joe Ashley Stevenson

Wichita runner and Local Joe Ashley Stevenson

Although this will be my sixth time competing in the series, I have never trained with a group before, and I have come to realize what a huge advantage it is. Our 16-week plan has five to six workouts a week. It consists of speed work at Tuesday night track, some tempo runs and of course, the Saturday morning long runs. Those long runs are when being part of a group has been especially beneficial.

For the long runs, our large group is broken down by pace into smaller tribes of runners. My tribe is all men and they push me to get better every week. I have learned so much from running with this group of experienced guys and of course, my competitive nature wants to be as good or better than them. Training with runners who are faster than me has been the easiest way to push myself and improve. Don’t get me wrong—it has not been easy. The struggles of marathon training are still the same. I am still tired and sore, and it is hard to find the time to run, but the accountability factor of training with a group keeps me in check and moving toward my goals.


Ready to Race

There are just a few more weeks of training left, and I am beginning to taper. I look forward to running the streets of my hometown and seeing friends, family and neighbors along the course. When my legs are tired and my brain says “stop”, it is their encouragement that carries me to the finish line. I hope you come out and race or cheer. Let’s flood the streets of Wichita on October 8 and show the visiting athletes what makes our city great!

Support your local runners!

About the Prairie Fire Marathon

About the Prairie Fire Maratho

The Fall Prairie Fire Marathon Race Series consists of the following events. All (except the fun run/walk) official USATF Certified races and are electronically time with the BIBTAG chip timing system for both the start and finish of the race. Your race number is also your "chip" for timing.

  • The Prairie Fire Marathon
  • Half Marathon 
  • Mayor’s 5k Challenge 
  • Fun Run & Walk

Organized by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, the event is committed to promoting health, wellness, and fellowship amongst runners, joggers, and walkers from all walks of life. They believe in the positive impact a marathon can have on its community.



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