Abby Malmstrom has lived in Columbus less than a year, but she already has made an impact on the local running scene.
Not only is the running coach working with and training runners, but she also is working behind the scenes to make the second annual Tennessee Williams Tribute 5-Kilometer Run a bigger and better event.
Last year, the event attracted less than 50 runners. Through Wednesday, more than 130 participants had pre-registered for the event. Malmstrom hopes even more than that will compete at 8 a.m. Saturday when the race kicks off at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center in downtown Columbus.
“It has been fantastic,” Malmstrom said of the Golden Triangle Running and Cycle Club’s year. “They have had a busy year. This year the club launched the Possum Town Triathlon and they have really been working on improving the efficiency of the races and have been able to purchase more equipment. The club is slowly progressing and advancing.”
Malmstrom, who is a member of the club earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from George Washington University. She moved from Sacramento, Calif., to Columbus with her husband in October and has spent the past year re-establishing her business as a running coach. She had a similar business in Sacramento, and is working to improve community wellness by teaching fitness programs for women and holding marathon training programs and running clinics.
“I have been a running coach for almost 12 years,” Malmstrom said. “Once I started I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the aspect of helping people achieve a goal and seeing them succeed. No matter where I live this is something I will continue to do, working on prevention programs to keep people healthy rather than allow them to get sick.
“I am trying to get everyone a little bit healthier a little bit at a time.”
Malmstrom said she didn’t know about the second-annual event until local running enthusiasts asked her to be race director. She said she has had past experience organizing races, and that her first attempt as a race director has been a great experience.
This weekend, Malmstrom hopes her work with the Tennessee Williams Tribute 5-K Run helps more people get interested in running. In addition to teaching a women’s fitness boot camp at Bliss Yoga Studio in downtown Columbus, Malmstrom also does personal training at the YMCA and teaches running clinics at the Riverwalk.
Originally from Connecticut, Malmstrom said many of the runners who have signed up to run Saturday have participated in her running clinic for 5-Kers. She said she has spent the past four weeks training runners on the proper form and technique. On Thursday, the last clinic offered instruction on how to run efficiently up and down hills.
Participants interested in competing in the race can register tonight by going to www.runcyclegtr.org There will be race-day registration from 7-7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Tennessee Williams home. The cost is $20. There also will be a post-race party at Cafe Aromas, featuring live music and free coffee for runners. There will be post-race finishers photos available in front of Tennessee Williams home by Renee Reedy Photography.
For more information on the programs Malmstrom offers, go to www.liveforitall.com.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.