Among other feats, he pulled a 17-and-a-half ton fire truck for 75 feet, ran 100 feet in 20.63 seconds with 510 pounds on his back and in the dead lift picked up 605 pounds off the ground and held it for the required amount of time. As always, he pushed himself to his physical limits.
After all of that, it was announced he had placed second in the light weight novice division. His prize was a medal and a tremendous amount of self-satisfaction.
Drew’s coach, his wife Katie, and his parents were there cheering him on.
While Drew is a power lifter extraordinaire, Katie is a distance runner. When she is running marathons — 26.2 miles — Drew is on the sidelines cheering her on.
I was surprised when I learned that Katie runs marathons.
Far from having the tall, thin body of the elite Kenyan runners, she describes herself as short and compact. You and I would say she has a good figure.
Her goal is to run a marathon in all of the 50 states and she is well on her way. One of her heroes is ultra man runner Dean Karnazes. He ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.
When registering for some runs, Katie explains applicants must give proof of their speed. That determines their position on the track at the beginning of the race. This can be done by giving evidence of the time they ran a previous race.
Several years ago, as you may recall, Waleska was the home of the official loser of Atlanta’s 4th of July Peachtree Road Race. Definitely not a marathon, the distance of the Peachtree is 6.2 miles. About 60,000 runners/walkers participate each year.
That year, Hallene Huddlestun was the last of those 60,000 to cross the finish line.
She was interviewed on Atlanta television about how she trained for the run. Being a wonderful, fun-loving person, she enjoyed it all.
It was Katie’s idea that she and Drew should participate in one another’s sport. Drew started running with her. “You catch the bug or you don’t,” he said. He did not catch the running bug.
She liked his sport better and continues with it. Katie explains that many women do not want to lift weights, do push-ups, etc. because they are afraid they will “bulk up.” She says that will not happen because females do not have the testosterone levels males have.
I wondered what a marathon runner is thinking about as they run over 26 miles. Katie explains when she is alone with her thoughts it is a spiritual time.
Drew had a spiritual moment when as a spectator at one event where Katie was running, a man was pushing his adult son in a wheelchair as he ran. They are members of Heritage Baptist Fellowship where they are active in church activities including chaperoning youth mission trips.
Drew and Katie met when they were students at the University of Evansville in South Indiana. She got her degree in psychology while he majored in writing. A talented writer, he authors articles about his training and competitions. You can read some of them on the Internet.
Before he began training, he said he was overweight and unhappy. Now handsome and muscular, that is definitely no longer the case. Katie has been aptly described by an older member of the church as, “A pretty, little girl.”
After moving to Canton, both began working at the Blue Ridge Recovery Center in Ball Ground. Drew is director of activities while Katie works in medical records.
At the same time, Drew is a personal trainer/fitness coach at Superior Health Care in Canton. He stresses that the biggies in physical fitness are strength and conditioning. Along with that is form. Proper form prevents injuries.
She trains by running long distances most days. Usually she runs eight miles. While training for an upcoming run, she runs 60 miles each week. When she runs on a treadmill, she often wears a vest with the pockets filled with weights.
Katie does not always run the same route. Some begin when she goes out the front door of their residence and end when she gets back home.
During the Christmas and New Year season, many folks received a gym membership as a gift and/or resolved to exercise regularly. Now in mid-February, many of those resolutions have been broken. Once again, it is easy to get a parking spot at your favorite gym.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.