Ready, Set, Run

Trey Edwards Runs for His Dad in the Chicago Marathon

Trey Edwards, America's Car-Mart

For 26.2 miles in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Trey Edwards will run and think about his dad. He’s running in honor of his dad and raising money for the National Kidney Foundation. Kidney disease runs in his family so it’s a cause near and dear to his heart.

“My dad suffered from polycystic kidney disease and received a kidney transplant when I was very young. Without people and organizations like the National Kidney Foundation, I would not have gotten to spend the time I had with him,” says Trey, Underwriter at America’s Car-Mart in Rogers, Ark., and a runner since 2017.

Trey with his dad
Trey with his dad

Growing up, Trey and his dad did everything together – sports, baseball, and golf. And they enjoyed watching the St. Louis Cardinals and Ole Miss football. “My dad was always my biggest supporter, and he would have done anything to see me succeed,” remarks Trey, while adding that sadly his dad passed away in 2013. “He was a great man, and he would do anything for anybody.”

“So, this race is a big motivator for me. It makes the grind of training that much easier,” Trey says.

Chicago Marathon – Returns to the Streets on October 10

“It’s [the Chicago Marathon] going to be an exciting race,” says the 36-year-old Trey. “It’s the first marathon major in the U.S. since the New York City Marathon in 2019, which I also ran.”

Trey recently answered a few questions about his third marathon:

Why did you decide to run in the Chicago Marathon?

It’s one of the six marathon majors and getting to run in a major is a big deal in the running community. This one is more special because I’m running for a charity.

Trey with medals from some of the marathons he ran in
Trey with medals from some of the marathons he ran in

With COVID, most of the races were nationally canceled in 2020. When races opened back up, I wanted to do a bigger marathon. And I wanted to run for charity. I researched Chicago and the National Kidney Foundation is a charity sponsor. When I saw that, I knew I had to run.

It’s important to get the word out. Kidney disease is bad and tough on families. I watched my dad go through dialysis, so if this can help someone else, it will be time well-spent.

How have you trained for the Chicago Marathon?

I switched up a lot of things I was doing as I ran two marathons in one calendar year. The Memphis St. Jude Marathon was in 2018 and the New York City Marathon was eleven months later in 2019. I fought a lot of injuries getting to New York and post New York. I never really recovered. So, I took some time off after the New York race.

Trey running the NYC Marathon in 2019
Trey running the NYC Marathon in 2019

I changed my diet and I now cross-train to take the pressure off my legs. I started my training plan on January 1 which built up to a new training regimen in May.

I have a training calendar that segments what I do every day. Monday is speed work, a four or five-mile run where I sprint for 40 seconds then back to a normal pace. Wednesday is a longer run, eight or nine miles. Friday is a four or five-mile run. Saturdays and Sundays are longer runs. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I cross-train with or without weights for about 45 minutes.

How will you stay motivated running 26.2 miles?

I listen to music, mostly Jay-Z. I also concentrate on splits or half miles. I have a Strava app that shows my pace so I can slow down or pick it up. During my previous two marathons, when I got to the 19-mile point, I told myself, ‘I only have seven miles to go.’  At the 22-mile mark, ‘I only have four to go, and that’s a Monday run.’ I, also, use energy gel packs and pop one about every five to six miles.

When it comes to running a marathon, you just put one foot in front of the other. It’s more mental than physical. You must wrap your head around that you have trained for a long time. You must be disciplined, and the rest takes care of itself. The other runners keep you going also. You can find someone running at the same pace as you and run with that person.

What are your training tips for others who may want to run a marathon?

Nutrition is key. As your training runs get longer, your body needs extra fuel. The right foods are also important for post-runs. What you put in your body post-run will help with muscle repair. You should know good carbs and bad carbs. Some carbs burn quickly so these are what you should eat pre- and post-runs.

Trey at the NYC Marathon in 2019
Trey at the NYC Marathon in 2019

For a pre-long run, I’ll have a bagel and banana. For a post-long run, I’ll eat potatoes or pasta. I have a special light pasta recipe. And for the week of the marathon, I’ll eat lots of sweet potatoes and light pasta. Nothing heavy.

Find a training plan that suits your fitness level and stick with it. If it calls to run 15 miles, don’t run 13 miles. Listen to your body. If you’re hurting, don’t push it as it will lead to long-term injuries. Finally, stick with your training plan and know that it can be daunting at times.

Describe marathon day. What do you see and feel?

For starters, it almost feels like it’s never going to get here especially after months and months of training. On marathon day, I usually have a lot of nerves. It’s hard to stay still. You must keep moving. You sacrifice so much to get here.

Trey running the NYC Marathon in 2019
Trey running the NYC Marathon in 2019

Everyone is quiet. There’s tons of nervous energy. And when you’re finally done, the first thing I usually think is I’m not going to do another marathon. A few days later, I’ll think it was fun and I’ll plan to do it again. The pain isn’t that bad after the race; it’s usually the day after.

What have you learned about yourself about training and running in marathons?

What my wife would tell you is it shows I’m a lot more stubborn than I thought I was.

Running a marathon was something I didn’t think I would ever do. The time and amount of training it takes always felt like it would be too much and now I am running my third marathon. It has taught me that I need to challenge myself more, and more times than not, I will be surprised at what I can accomplish.

Running for a Good Cause – Support the National Kidney Foundation

With each step in the 26.2 miles, Trey will be cheered on by his wife, Jennifer. His two daughters, Sydnee and Clara Kate will be cheering from home.

Trey with his wife and two daughters
Trey with his wife and two daughters

And just give Trey a few days before he determines that he will run in his next marathon – perhaps the Boston Marathon.

So, run, Trey, run.

Want to help Trey run in honor of his dad and support the National Kidney Foundation? Check out Trey’s website: Team Kidney – 2021 Chicago Marathon – Trey Edwards (onecause.com)

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