The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 22, 2013

Eight-Mile challenge conquered in style

Gears, Nowak top field in Ashtabula competition

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Staff Writer

— Rain, muddy cliffs and bee hives weren’t enough to slow down Jonathan Gears, 20, of Andover, and Katie Nowak, 26, of Willoughby, who won the eight-mile Adventure Run on Saturday at Cederquist Park.

Gears is coming off an explosive track year that saw him earn All-American status in indoor and outdoor track for the University of the Cumberlands.

He is running more than 100 miles a week and was excited to get on trails and just enjoy running for running’s sake. He said it was nice to ignore splits and just concentrate on getting across the puddle, or log, without breaking an ankle.

Having a passion for the sport is a key to running success, Gears said. He said you have to love running before you can have any real success.

Gears ran a 14:34 5,000 meters at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Outdoor Track Championship earning an eighth-place finish and All-America status.

He said he was able to run the 14:49 qualifying status two weeks after running the NAIA Indoor Track Championship meet at Spire Institute in March.

“I got in a real good block of training,” he said of the preparation for the outdoor national meet.

Gears said his body has responded well to high mileage training and he will continue to run lots of miles as long as he feels healthy.

“I hit 103 last week,” he said.

While Gears is gearing up for his redshirt sophomore season, Nowak is now just running for fun after concluding her Division I running career at Bradley University in Illinois.

Nowak was a 4:50 miler at Bradley, but is now working as an engineer and racing for fun. She said she liked the challenging Indian Trails course but didn’t have the proper footwear.

“I need trail shoes. I had a real hard time on the hills,” she said.