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Doctor hosting free ‘Couch to 5K’ training program

Fredericksburg-area residents who want to run for a good cause can take part in a free eight-week training program starting next week.

Dr. Daniel Gray of Pratt Medical Center is hosting a “Couch to 5K” program in preparation for the ninth annual Baron “Deuce” P. Braswell Run Against Teen Violence on Sept. 20. Beginning Tuesday, the training program will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center’s main entrance.

Participants can expect to do more walking than running at first. But as the training progresses, “that will literally change over to more jogging and less walking,” Gray said.

The Braswell event, which includes a 5K and 1-mile youth fun run, was started to increase awareness of teen violence and to raise money for college scholarships for student–athletes in the area. Braswell, who played football, baseball and other sports for Spotsylvania County’s Courtland High School, was stabbed to death at a party in January 2006. He was 16.

His father, Baron Braswell Sr., is now a member of the Spotsylvania School Board.

Gray, who two years ago finished the 3.1-mile Braswell race in 19 minutes (his personal best), said the course at Courtland High School is relatively flat.

“The race itself is a wonderful, sort of relaxed atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a great family event for folks of all experience and all fitness levels.”

Gray said he started running regularly about four years ago and logs anywhere from 30 miles a week to as many as 60 miles a week when he’s training for a marathon.

Last year, he ran the 26.2-mile Marine Corps Marathon in just 3 hours, 13 minutes and 59 seconds—finishing in 556th place out of 23,380 runners.

As of late last week, Gray said, about 50 people had signed up for the “Couch to 5K” program.

Running, he says, is an opportunity to “let your mind wander and take a break from all the worries of the day.”

And in the case of the Braswell race, it’s for a good cause, too, he said.

“There’s a lot of not only physical but mental and emotional benefits that come with any exercise, but running in particular,” Gray said.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402


WHEN: Every Tuesday and Thursday (starting Tuesday, July 29) at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center’s main entrance, 4600 Spotsylvania Parkway

COST: Free

DETAILS: To register for the training program, email Courtney Gray at or call 540/785-7581.