Volunteer members of Revitalize Dunkirk provided a “Hydration Station” with free water, juice boxes and popsicles to Memorial Day Parade marchers at Washington Park. Over 450 treats were enjoyed by thirsty parade participants.
PARKERSBURG — Leslie Molinaro-Craven is constantly on the go.
If the 41-year-old runner isn’t helping her husband Shawn at Anytime Fitness in Vienna, she’s transporting her 14- and 10-year-old sons to baseball games and being a soccer mom to her 7-year-old daughter.
“I’m very busy — here, there and everywhere,” smiled Molinaro-Craven before starting out on a River City Runners and Walkers Club-guided 9-mile training run at 5:30 p.m. June 24 at City Park.
When Molinaro-Craven laces up her running shoes, and goes out for a training run, it’s almost like a break from all of the other activities she’s involved in during the week.
“It’s good to run with other people on Monday,” Molinaro-Craven said. “It keeps me going, and plus there are water stops along the route.”
Molinaro-Craven said she also has trained solo and competed in local road races.
“I try to run four or five days a week,” she said. “And, I just ran the Chick-Fil-A 10K and before that I did the Vienna 5-miler. I’m trying to get back on the running circuit.”
And, on the circuit, of course, is The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Aug. 17.
“Last year, I said that this year was my year, and I’m going to do it,” Molinaro-Craven said.
Actually, Molinaro-Craven is no stranger to the Half. She’s run in several of them but not since 2010 when she covered the 13.1-mile distance in 2 hours, 15.16 minutes.
“I’ve actually run it in 1:40,” she said. “But I can’t do that now.
“Hey, I’m just getting back into it. I’m not pushing for any goals. I used to be competitive, but now I just want to finish.”
A 1996 Parkersburg High grad, Molinaro-Craven ran cross country and track for Big Reds coaches George Angelos and Susan Gardner, respectively. Both Angelos and Gardner later became Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Famers.
“My dad (Lou Molinaro) got me interested in running, and I started in junior high,” recalled Molinaro-Craven. “I started running cross country in the 10th grade. I loved cross country, a lot more than track. It was just fun with different races and trails.”
After graduating from PHS, Molinaro-Craven was good enough to run cross country at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
“I was OK,” she said. “I mean, I think I actually got better as a runner as I got older.”
Molinaro said before marrying Shawn, she ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
“It was 15 years ago before I had kids,” she said. “And I’ll never do another one. I hit the wall at mile 18 but I finished.
“That was my one and done. I can say I did one.”
As for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half, Molinaro-Craven knows from past experiences that the 13.1-mile course can also be very challenging.
“It’s a tough one,” she said. “It’s got a lot of rolling hills. And, it never fails to be hot and humid every single year on that week.”
“It’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” she added. “You know, you kind of hate it, but you kind of love it. It’s a really good course, and there are a lot of people out on it on Gihon Road, cheering with signs.”
Molinaro-Craven said that she’s expecting her older brother Mike Molinaro and older sister Lisa Thackrah to also run this year’s Half.
“They usually run it every year,” Molinaro-Craven said. “I might run with my sister for a little bit if we’re on the same pace.”
Ron Johnston can be reached at [email protected]