In May 24 issue, Russell County News
By Derek Aaron
Russell County News Editor
Just over a year and a half ago, Darren Gaskin weighed 220 lbs. and said his health was at risk. That’s when he decided that being overweight wasn’t for him and challenged himself.
He began running and watching what he ate and on May 4 he completed his first marathon, the 26.2 mile Cincinnati Flying Pig. at 173 lbs.
Gaskin, who lives in Eli, completed the course in a little more than four hours at 4:11:24 to finish in the top 40 percentile of the marathon. 4,734 runners participated in the event.
“I’ve done a lot of local 5k and 10k races but that is the very first full marathon I’ve ever done,” he said.
Gaskin, a nurse in the open heart intensive care unit at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset, said that before he started running he had high blood pressure and cholesterol and had already started taking medication for the problem.
“I started looking a whole lot like my patients so I started running,” he said. Gaskin said he started getting on www.runnersworld.com and found out what to do to get into shape and train properly.
After he began training and running some, he finally started running some smaller races by pacing himself to the finish. He is also now off all medications he was taking.
“I ran in the Turkey Trot in Russell Springs around Thanksgiving and I ran in a 5k in Liberty,” he said. Gaskin also ran in a Somerset 5k sponsored by the Somerset FCA, the 2007 Midsummer Night’s Run in Lexington.
“I was running a bunch of little races and doing really good for my age group,” he said. “I was winning some age group medals and I decided I was doing good at it and decided to try and run farther.”
Over the weeks and months that followed, Gaskin, who runs near his Park’s Ridge home and at the Russell Springs City Park, would add a mile to his routine ever so often.
“I finally got up to where, at least once a week, I was running around 17 miles,” he said. Last winter, Gaskin decided to finally register for the Cincinnati marathon so that he would have a goal to shoot for.
“That’s when I started training really hard, running upwards of 30 and 40 miles a week,” he said. Then finally came the day to run the 10th annual Flying Pig Marathon. Gaskin said before the race that he hoped to finish in less than five hours.
“Most of these guys who run these distances races are two, three and up to seven-year runners,” he said. “I had just been doing it a year and a half so as long as I finished and not dragging my tail I was going to be pleased.”
The course’s terrain is difficult with a lot of hills so Gaskin said he had to pace himself in order to finish with a respectable time, and he did.
Gaskin said he was “tickled to death,” with his finish.
4,734 runners completed the large race with Gaskin coming in 1,804 overall.
The preparation for the race, Gaskin said, started a week earlier when he began to hydrate his body.
“You have to eat complex carbs with just a little protein and stay away from sugar,” he said. “You have to start drinking eight bottles of water or Gatorade for five days before the race.” He said no matter how good a person hydrates, their body would become fully dehydrated by the 20-mile mark. That’s why he chose the Ohio race as they had water every mile for the runners to use.
After running 20 miles, you would assume that the final six would take your body to the limit.
“I just said that I had done all this training for a year and a half and I am not stopping now,” he said.
Gaskin, 39, said he was in better shape now than he was when he graduated high school. He is married to Kelly Jo Gaskin and has one daughter, Rylie.
He offered some advice for anyone thinking about starting a running program, “If you want to get healthy and get off the medicine, lose weight and feel good you’ve got to be doing something.”
“You don’t do your body damage by running, you do it by sitting still,” Gaskin said. “Just start easy and keep at it, I started doing just 30 minutes a day and slowly advanced as my body tolerated it.”