About the Program

EVR is providing training for beginners to experienced runners, for all paces for three of the valley's endurance running races in late winter:

  • The Mesa-Phoenix Marathon’s 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon races.
  • The Lost Dutchman's 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon,
  • SHE Power Half Marathon

We also offer training for the Phoenix Rock N' Roll Half and Full Marathon for intermediate and advanced runners.

The program begins on Tuesday,  October 1 at Mesquite High School track at 6 PM.  Please join us for program orientation followed by a run.  You can decide to sign up after the orientation. If you missed the orientation, contact the coaches regarding joining us part way through the training program at evrcoaches@gmail.com.  Registration is open for the first two weeks of October.

Our training program is a semi-custom training program.  Participants are given a training plan to follow based on their current running (or walking) capability and are also provided optimal paces to train at for each participant.  We coach beginners, intermediate and advanced runners and walkers, too.  Since our program's beginning in 2012,  our participants have included walkers, back-of-the-pack runners, mid-pack runners and Boston Qualifiers.  Fast, slow, or somewhere in-between, we have a place for you!

Our group meets on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings and we provide an additional run option on Thursday mornings.  There are additional group runs that you can attend.  If you can't make a workout, you will have a schedule to follow so you may do the workouts on your own.

The cost of the program is $60 for non-club members, $55 for current club members.  There are discounts available for additional household members.  In addition to a semi-custom program schedule and recommended training paces, the fee includes: dues to East Valley Runners for the remainder of 2019 and through 2020, a program shirt, a post-program pizza party, weekly group runs targeted to the training program and presentations covering topics including: shoes, nutrition, injury prevention, massage, safety, racing techniques.


Please send us an email at evrcoaches@gmail.com letting us know that you are interested in joining our program.

We will send you a link to a Google form for registration.

Payment may be made in one of the following ways:

  • Credit Card: Small Buy Now Button (non-club member, first household member)
  • PayPal: send it to evrpayments@gmail.com
  • Cash
  • Check (make out to East Valley Runners)

Please note that there are no refunds and the fee does NOT include any race registration.  Race registration is separate.
First additional household family members are $55.  Each additional is $50.

* Current club members may receive a $5 discount.  Please contact the coaches for more information or look for more information in the weekly club email.

I just wanted to take a second to say thanks for running the training program again this year. Everyone in the program benefited and had a good time at the track and on race day. Running the program is a big commitment, and all of us EVRs who participated are grateful. Thanks a million!!

Terry Gin

There is no way we, my husband and I, would have finished our first full marathon WITHOUT joining the EVR training group. From the first day thru the last, the coaches Barry & Cathy were extremely informative and supportive! In my opinion, there is no other way to go!

Michael & Taura Gardner


When does the group meet?

Our primary group workouts are Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  There are additional group runs that you can attend.

On Tuesday evenings, we will meet at 6:00 PM for presentations and we will start running at approximately 6:30 PM.

On Saturday mornings our start time will vary.  This is because we want to run when there is some light in the sky but before it starts to get hot and the sunrise time changes throughout the year.  In October, our start time will be 6 AM; in November, 6:30 AM; in December through the remainder of the program, 7 AM.

Where does the group meet?

On Tuesday evenings, our primary meeting spot will be at the Mesquite High School Track (500 S McQueen Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85233).  On some Tuesday evenings we will meet at Paseo Vista Park (corner of McQueen and Ocotillo Roads).  We will announce in advance when we will not be at the track and will let participants know where we will be.

On Saturday mornings, our primary meeting spot will be behind the QT at the intersection of Gilbert and Warner Roads.  This is close to the Consolidated canal where most of our long runs will be conducted.  Occasionally we will meet at other locations and these locations will be announced in advance.

Runners are encouraged to attend other East Valley Runners group runs if they would like in order to get their weekly mileage in.  Other East Valley Runners group runs are posted on Meetup.

Who puts on the program?

The program is put on by East Valley Runners, a local non-profit running club

East Valley Runners exists to promote and encourage long-distance running through education of the community on the benefits of physical fitness and sport.

The program is led by club volunteers who receive a small stipend for their efforts.

Who are the coaches and what are their qualifications?

Cathy Blessing

Cathy is a Road Runners of America certified coach as well as a Lydiard Foundation Level 1 & 2 certified running coach.  She is the program co-founder.

Cathy also serves as East Valley Runners’ Training Coordinator and directs their Speed Through Spring program.  She also has experience as an assistant coach for training programs for beginners through experienced marathoners.

Mark Medlock

Mark is in his fourth year assistant coaching the marathon training program.  Mark is a past participant whose marathon time went from over 3:40 down to a 3:17 after participating in the training program.

How does the program work?

The program is a semi-custom program based upon a participant’s current training, their goals, and their current running paces.  The program builds in mileage and running pace as the program progresses.

The plans call for running 4 days for the beginner 10K runners, and 5-6 days per week for other programs.  Building an aerobic base is key for success in endurance races.

Who is the program for?

Since the program is semi-custom, we provide paces based on each participant’s ability and we have plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced runners for the 10K, half-marathon and full marathon, there’s likely a place for almost anyone.  Walkers may also participate and we’ve had walkers take part.  However, if you plan to walk you may wish to check your goal race’s website to determine if they have a cut off and if you think you will be able to finish in time prior to registering for the race.

The program is geared toward adults, however, we have had some teenagers participate in our club training programs and welcome focused athletes.  Please note: when we run on the canal there is no guarantee that a participant will have supervision.  Participants need to be responsible enough to run safely alone.

What kind of equipment do I need to participate?

We recommend that all runners be fitted properly for shoes at a running store.

We also ask that runners bring water to the track and carry water on their long runs (Saturdays).

A running watch with a lap timer is helpful, particularly at the track to keep track of your pace during your workouts.  A GPS watch is not necessary.  Beginners may want to consider an APP for their smart phone with an interval timer as their program is done by time (walk so many minutes, run for a certain duration, repeat).

A headlamp may also be useful on Tuesday evenings, particularly if you have trouble seeing in low-light situations.  Sometimes the track lights are on, sometimes they are not.

Are headphones permitted?

We discourage the use of headphones while with the group and ask that you do not wear them at the track.  We hope to get you to tune-in to what you are doing while with us, and we want you to hear any faster runners who may be coming up on you and asking you to move out of your lane on the track.

On Saturdays, we hope you will have someone to do your long run with but even if you are on your own, ask that you consider leaving your music at home or turn it way down - you want to be able to hear anyone (especially bikes) which are coming up behind you!

Can I bring my children to the workout?

We discourage children from attending unless they are participants in the program.  There is no one to watch them at any of the workouts.  At the track we have had issues with children getting in the way of runners doing their workouts.   Older children who can sit quietly in the bleachers may be fine.  Please use your best judgement.

Can I cross-train during the program/do another activity like CrossFit, weights or Orange Theory?

It all depends on your fitness level, goal race distance and what you are looking to achieve in your goal race.  Those running a shorter goal race don't need to run as many miles as those running a full marathon which leaves more time to take part in other activities. If you are trying to set a PR in the full marathon, you will need to spend more time running.

Participants also need to judge for themselves how taking part in other activities impacts their running training.  While some activities help with injury prevention and leave you ready to run, others may leave you tired or sore and unable to complete your running workouts.

How do I register?

Please contact the coaches directly at evrcoaches@gmail.com and tell us you'd like to register.

We can have participants pay by cash, check (made out to East Valley Runners), credit card (using a square reader) or PayPal.  Payments via PayPal can be sent to evrpayments@gmail.com. If you pay via PayPal, please send us an email at evrcoaches@gmail.com so we know to verify it went through.

If you're a club member, the fee is $55.  For non-members, the fee is $60. Second household members take $5 off ($50 and $55 respectively).  Any additional household members only pay $45 (club member) or $50 (non-club member).

Coaches Cathy & Mark

Please let us know if you have any questions.

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