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Press Coverage for Ray's Running eBook

The Wilmington News Journal printed the following article on August 2, 2006

Showing the way for runners
Christensen's Internet 'book' aims to make group training more accessible, enjoyable

By KEVIN TRESOLINI, The News Journal     08/02/2006

Ray Christensen needed more than his own two legs to become one of New Castle County's busiest and more successful runners. It also took the guidance, encouragement and companionship of others to help transform the Mill Creek area resident, who had run little before turning 40, into someone whose running resume now includes eight marathons, including two at Boston.

Christensen, 44, is in the process of returning the favor. He hopes to help others receive the same benefit by authoring an e-book, a digest accessible only via the Internet. He hopes to have it done this fall and make it available for a fee, likely between $10 and $15. It will be free for contributors, however.

"Run With Me: How to Start, Improve or Join a Running Club" will encourage runners to find and keep training partners, which Christensen considers the primary path to running success and, most importantly, consistency.
Why does he feel that way?
"I know from experience," he said.
And, as author of an interactive publication, Christensen even is inviting submissions from runners about their own experiences, particularly for subjects such as finding running partners, starting training groups and keeping them going.
"Anything that shows," Christensen said, "that, if you're running now or thinking about it, you're going to get so much more enjoyment and improvement out of running with a group."


Ray Christensen - photo 
courtesy of the News Journal
Ray Christensen, 44, has completed eight marathons since he began running competitively four years ago.
The News Journal/MATTHEW JONAS

Most runners can attest to the benefits of camaraderie as a means to maintaining a lasting relationship with running that goes well beyond "sharing your pain" proportions. Many of Christensen's closest friends are folks he didn't know five years ago but whom he got to know through some sweat, some strain, a few miles and perhaps a few beverages afterward.
"I'm doing something for people who might be searching for a way to get into running more, or maybe they're doing it but just not enjoying it," he said.
"Find people to run with -- that's where I've experienced the benefits of running so much."
Christensen, a former jewelry distribution supervisor for the QVC home shopping TV network in West Chester, Pa., is a New York City native who moved to Delaware 14 years ago. He now operates his own company, Attraction Web Design.

"I'm not a good predictor of the value of technology -- I didn't think e-mail would work -- but I think it'll fly," said Rebel Runner club comrade Jack Horowitz of Christensen's e-book. "It's just another way for runners to connect."

As happens for many, Christensen decided as he approached 40 that he needed a more concerted exercise program after years of once-a-week running. The paved 1.75-mile loop around Delcastle Recreation Area, near his home, provided the ideal setting. But he needed more. He found it through the Arthritis Foundation's Joints in Motion program, which provides coaching and training programs for runners aiming to complete a long-distance event. Christensen's father, Edward, had been a long-time arthritis sufferer. Many other charitable organizations have similar programs.

"It worked because they were a group that provided the support and the motivation for me," Christensen said. "Instead of me deciding, 'I'm going to run a marathon,' they say, 'We will help you.' "I had never really run at all. I got involved in Joints in Motion and, in 25 weeks, went from nothing to running a marathon." Christensen paused, then thought back. "Before, I never thought of running as fun," he said. "I could never understand high school and college kids running cross country instead of playing team sports, like baseball and basketball, that were more fun. It's taken becoming a runner to find that out. I wouldn't have stuck with it if it wasn't for the camaraderie, and it started with Joints in Motion."

On Oct. 28, 2002, Christensen finished the Dublin City Marathon in Ireland and raised $4,000 for the Arthritis Foundation. His chip time was 3:49:57. Strength, Christensen had found, really does come in numbers. Soon after his Joints in Motion experience, he became friendly with the other members of the Rebels, a group of fun-loving runners and social creatures who gather for 6 p.m. Thursday runs at Delcastle.

The Rebels have grown so significantly that they fielded their own competition category in the recent Delaware Marathon's Four-Person Relay, with eight different teams competing. In 2004, at his fifth marathon, Christensen attained a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon, which he now has run twice. The Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pa., this fall will be his ninth race at the 26.2-mile distance. He envisions his e-book serving as a database of sorts for runners. "I get e-mails from all over the country," said Christensen, whose "Marathon Man" Web site is at "People say they're moving here or there, or visiting someplace and looking for somebody to run with. I already know people are searching for running partners. Let's take it a step further with the e-book and make it easy for people."
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