The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 25 - March 23, 2011


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAMICC NFL March madness

After the longest and largest sports season the Community Center has ever had, it all comes down to one mad week of games. The Anna Maria Island Community Center's NFL Flag Football regular season is over and the playoff picture is finally set.

Thirty-three teams started play more than 12 weeks ago and now it all culminates with a rush of playoff games this week and a Super Bowl on Saturday. Some teams will have to test their endurance and drive playing up to three back to back days if they want to be crowned champions.

The road to glory is never easy and here is the path for this journey.



PHOTO/SCOTT DELL Player Challenge medal winners in the 5- to 7-year-old category are, from left: David Daigle, passing accuracy; Andrew Austin, 40-yard dash and Cole Pearson, obstacle course.

Obesity cure – race with kids

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Ellen Jaffe Jones and her relay partner,
Riley Paige Dunn, a member of the Manatee
High Girls' Cross Country and Track teams.
celebrate the end of the race.

I recently wrote about running the Senior Olympics for the first time. If I had competed in the national games held in 2009, I would have placed 7th in the 1500 meter race, and 8th in the 800 meter race. I gave it my all, so much so, that my #1 rule of personal training, "listen to your body," gave me early warning signs about my next race.

That race was to be the Sarasota Half Marathon on March 13. The 13.1 mile path takes runners over the Ringling Bridge twice and through some beautiful neighborhoods. But my little aches told me that 13 miles was too much, even though I'd run that race the past two years. This was the first year for relays. At the last minute, I teamed up with Riley Paige Dunn, a member of the Manatee High Girls' Cross Country and Track teams. I am the assistant volunteer coach and knew that Riley had just run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and didn't want to do another half so close together. So we registered under the name she chose, Team Rellen. Other fun team names included, Hot Mommas, Cupcakes, and Quicken.

Riley wanted to do the shorter 5.5 mile run, which went over the Ringling Bridge – no easy feat. That left me with the remaining 7.6 miles which pleasantly meandered through residential waterfront property. At mile marker 11, someone doled out a box of peak season Florida strawberries. Best strawberry I ever tasted!

Being a team meant giving up individual identity. No ability to set a new personal record and no chance to win an age group award as I often do in shorter three-mile races. As it turned out, we came in 29th out of 68 all female relay teams.

Best I could tell, we were the oldest and youngest team. It was way more fun to run a relay than any race I could have done alone. A high school teen who grabs my heartstrings; I'm a relay partner any day.

Riley provided these answers to my questions:

"There are many things that I love about running: the challenge, running with friends and the way I feel when I cross the finish line. I have never felt more confident, strong and beautiful than I do now. My inspiration to run has been my amazing coach. Coach Rae Ann Darling Reed convinced me come to a cross country practice. I was very nervous but within minutes I felt part of the team. My coach encouraged me to be the best I can be, and because of her, I have fallen in love with the sport. When I feel overwhelmed with classes, clubs, social activities and work, my run is the only time in my day were I feel completely relaxed. After my morning run I feel like I can take on anything.

When the opportunity came to run with you as my relay partner I knew I wanted to do it. After the race I felt great to have finished with you. The race was beautiful.

I would like to pursue a career in law. I hope to attend a small college and then law school. But I am keeping my mind open to many schools because it depends greatly on where I get financial aid.

Running cross country was definitely the best decision I made in high school. Running has taught me that with hard work and dedication I can truly achieve anything."

OK. If there are any scholarship angels out there, I couldn't have handpicked a better athlete and amazing kid. Mainly, I love her heart! Contact me for details.

Personal training and nutrition lifestyle coaching work together. A reminder that we do Friday Free Fitness, which includes an easy walk, run or combination, along with my Core is Key workout. Due to glorious weather, we'll meet back at the Manatee Beach playground. Bring a towel. Beyond these freebies, I do additional training, which includes the important partner, nutrition education. Call for details.

Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones is an accomplished endurance runner, cookbook author, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified personal trainer and RRCA certified running coach. For coaching or training, she can be reached at or 941-704-1025.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper