At the start of her training with the USC Marathon Team in October, Kathryn Johncox was a novice runner who could run two miles at best. Now, one month before competing in the L.A. Marathon, she can run 10 miles while carrying on a conversation.
The senior cinematic arts production major no longer feels like a rookie, but she knows there are more miles ahead.
“Now two miles sound like a walk in the park,” said Johncox, who is confident she will complete the 26.2 mile marathon in March. “It’s really rewarding, and I think it’s contagious because my family and friends are interested in running now.”
It takes Johncox just under three hours to run 14 miles. She’s comfortable with that, saying her focus is on endurance rather than speed.
Aside from feeling energized after a long run, she has gained other benefits.
“I am noticing muscles that I didn’t know existed either hurting or growing,” she said. “I haven’t lost a ton of weight, but I’ve lost 7 percent of my body fat and built some muscles. Mostly I’ve noticed my endurance — I can do six to 10 miles easily now.”
Because she interns three days a week and has a 16-unit course load, Johncox runs whenever time permits during the week and participates in the long Sunday morning runs with the team. Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Griffith Park and downtown Los Angeles are common places where the team runs at 8 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
Tom Cirillo, captain of the USC Marathon Team, said injuries and attrition have cut the team’s numbers down to about 30 members from the 80 that started in October. The team gradually will work up to a 22-mile run in the last month of training before the marathon, and Cirillo expects the remaining members to successfully complete the marathon.
“Kathryn’s doing very well,” Cirillo said. “If she continues the training for the remaining 1.5 months or so and doesn’t have any injuries, she’ll be able to complete the marathon.”