If you’re still wondering if you can do this, try hearing from some of those who’ve taken action to change their lives.

I have lived with pain my entire life. Pain in my hips, legs, ankles, feet, arms, and hands. The pain gets so bad sometimes that I had to have my husband rub my muscles and take pain medicine. I have always had difficulty climbing stairs, getting up from being in the floor, and walking on uneven ground. I have fallen so many times that I can’t even begin to count. I can’t count the number of times I have had X-rays of my

ankles and had softball size swollen knots and black and blue bruises on my ankles and feet. I have had to make decisions about where I can go depending on if there were stairs or not or if the ground was going to be uneven. I remember not being able to take my son to the crying baby’s room at church because it was upstairs and I couldn’t carry him up

the stairs. I remember carrying him in the carrier because I was afraid I would fall and drop him. This is all because I was diagnosed with a hereditary form of muscular dystrophy. My grandmother has the disease and is basically in a wheelchair. My uncle has it and

barely walks with braces on his legs. When I was diagnosed, my first thought was that this is what I had to look forward to.

Read the full testimonial

Leah Sparks, St. Albans


Leah at the finish line

I never would have thought I could run a 5K, but I did! I was approached by a friend to participate in the Genesis running program and it has changed my life.  Running became the catalyst for a significant lifestyle change.

Since completing the Genesis running program, I have continued to exercise regularly and now actually enjoy working out.  I did not want to be overwhelmed with significant lifestyle changes, so I decided to conquer exercising and eating like the running program, progressively.  Starting with exercise, I developed a routine and then I progressed to my eating habits.  Overtime, the lifestyle changes I have made have become my normal routine and I do not feel like I am sacrificing.  As a result of the changes I have made in my life, starting with running, I have lost 52 pounds, lowered my cholesterol by 50 points and significantly lowered by blood pressure and not to mention, I feel GREAT!  Check out the full story and before and after pictures here.

Ashley King, Charleston, WV


This is a testimonial two years in the making.  April before last a very good friend suggested that we sign up for Matt’s Genesis 5k training program. I had JUST quit smoking a couple of weeks prior to this invite and felt that “learning to run” would be a great distraction.   Read more…

Kelli Cain, Charleston, WV


In 2011, I accomplished something that I never thought I could do – I learned to run. Not only that, but I learned to ENJOY running. Thanks to the Genesis 5K Program, in just 10 weeks of training, I ran my first 5K. I still can’t believe that I did it! Earlier this year I found myself at age 32, months after my 3rd baby, feeling like I had to get my body moving somehow. Being part of a group like the Genesis 5K gave me the kind of accountability that I needed. It didn’t matter that I had never been an athlete before. I truly just began at the beginning and followed the workout plans down to the last detail. I surprised many of my friends and family members by getting through the entire 10 week program without quitting! It feels so awesome to know that I have accomplished something that I never thought I could do. It took a lot of self discipline, but as I’m learning in other areas of my life, anything that is worthwhile is worth the hard work. It’s given me so much confidence. As an added benefit I have even finally lost some of that stubborn baby weight! Many of my friends that are also moms with young kids will say they don’t have time to workout. I now say to them, “Make time and you’ll find that you will be a better mom!” If I can get to practice with a nursing infant, a groggy toddler to rouse from his nap, a stubborn 5 year old, a picnic dinner for 5 to pack, a 20 plus minute drive downtown during rush hour, 10 weeks in a row with perfect attendance, what’s your excuse? :) Thank you to my husband for all of his support. Thanks for my kiddos for cheering me on (I could hear my 3 y/o telling me to
run fast like a cheetah when it got hard on race day.) And thanks again to Matt and all my new running buddies I met through the Genesis 5K Program. I highly recommend this program to anyone!!

-Jennie Dys, Cross Lanes

“I was 65 years old when my son encouraged me to get off the couch and start running.  My first race was in 2006 when I ran the 4 mile leg of the Charleston Distance Run Relay and it just about killed me.  In 2007 I ran several 5K and 10K races and a milestone when I completed a half marathon in Huntington.  In 2008 I asked my son if he thought a 67 year old man with 2 years running experience could run a full marathon.  He said, “we’ll see” and he put me on a program.  And guess what? In November of 2008 I FINISHED a full Marathon.  As I write this I still truly can’t believe it.  Success comes from the Lord.

John Young, Charleston, WV

Before I joined the club I was already running but I wasnt sure how to get better. The first time I ran a race I met my friend, Matt, who was starting a running club. Since then I have run 15 races including the distance run. Before the club I could only run 4 miles. Matt taught me the ins and outs of training. He gave me tips on everything from eating right, stretching, how to get faster, how to work on your stride, breathing exercises, how to train for certain distances, and how to make my own running program.The club is not only for someone like me that wants to run long distance races, but for anyone that just wants to get into better shape; whether it be just walking a few miles or like me working towards the goal of running a marathon. The main goal is for everyone to get together and enjoy fellowship with one another. I have made a lot of great friends through the club and you couldn’t ask for better support.    See Shane in action

Shane Lester, Cross Lanes, WV

I was 34 and felt like my body was falling apart.  Lower back aches, poor circulation, love handles, the whole nine yards.  I had a 2 year old daughter and a son on the way. I figured Dad had better get in better physical condition in order to be all he could be for his kids in 15 years. Additionally, I’ve had type 1 diabetes since I was 5 years old so the motivation to get busy was clearly there. When my soccer career ended, I swore I would never run again unless I was being chased!  I pretty well stuck to that until C25K (Genesis) came along. I was pretty skeptical at first but I had seen what running had done for a friend of mine both physically and mentally.  I didn’t think my body was really built to handle running at any significant distance.  I WAS WRONG.  The incremental training was absolutely perfect.  My pain was minimal and my endurance increased pretty rapidly.  By the time my 5K day rolled around, I had lost weight, was eating better foods (because it helps me run better) and my blood sugar levels were nice and steady.  I wish I had taken up this path to better health long ago.  I honestly feel like I’m giving myself a chance at a longer life. Not to mention that completing a run is a rush.  Especially at 5:30 am in the pouring rain!  This program has worked for me, period.

Clark Hale, Lexington, KY

If an overweight, out-of-shape, 48 yr. old guy can do this program, anyone can!  I first got involved with the Couch to 5K program through my church.  Originally I only thought about training to walk in a 2-mile race, but after finishing in a fairly decent time (28:42), I was encouraged to try and run in the Charleston Distance Run 5K race in 2007.  To make a long story short, after a lot of sweating and groaning, God allowed me to complete the 5K in a time of 43:28:25.  Under 45 minutes for my very first 5K?  Incredible!  But that was only the beginning, though, because I’m now hooked.

I ran in the Independance Day race in ’08 (40:24:90) and the CDR 5K in 40:15:60.  The biggest attraction to me about the program is that you aren’t expected to jump right in and run 3 miles; it’s a step-up process.  And if you’re on a weight-loss regimen, then this is an excellent way to boost your activity level.  It’s a big reason why I’ve been able to lose 102.5 lbs, a good chunk of which came off over this last year.  The emotional benefits are also wonderful, because you begin to feel better about your body as you keep going longer distances.  I’m not going to be an elite runner, but I’ll be the best runner that I can be . . . and that’s good enough.
Duane West, Cross Lanes, WV.

I never thought that I would be able to run. I have been over weight all of my life and when I was younger I did not like to excercise in any way. I am now running and believe that the running is helping me keep my weight off. The first race I did was a two mile walk. If someone had told me that I would be running now , I would probably have laughed at that statement. I now praise the Lord that someone believed enough in me to encourage me to do things that I didn’t believe I could do. My longest race so far has been the Charleston Distance Run which is 15 miles. Don’t let age or weight or anything hinder you from trying what you think the Lord is telling you to do. He will give you what you need just when you need it.

Elizabeth Maxwell, Cross Lanes, WV.