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Pastor Jon Heiliger spends many off hours on Bluffton trails

Pastor Jon Heiliger is never running on empty.

Every day he is serving the lord, running the Lord of the Life Lutheran Church in Bluffton.

During his off hours, he is running on the trails of Bluffton as often as his schedule permits.

Heiliger, 53, was a latecomer to running as he started in the sport in 2007 after noticing some health warning signs.

“I started running for fitness since I was so out of shape,” he said. “I would walk a mile and I was completely exerted. I started running a mile or two and built up from there.”

After dropping 100 pounds, Rich Vidinha has his sights set on the Boston Marathon

Rich Vidinha didn’t think much about how easy running was, until the day he realized everything else was hard.
During Vidinha’s 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including time spent as a drill instructor on Parris Island, physical fitness had been a natural part of his life.
“I wouldn’t call me a runner,” says Vidinha, 35. “But when we ran, I always enjoyed it.”

Mike Beckwith completes his 5th marathon — and his first in 20 years

Hampton Lake resident Mike Beckwith, 63, just completed his fifth marathon. That’s more than most people can say about their running records, but this most recent race is also the first marathon he’s run in about 20 years.

“Running the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was important to me because it had been 20 years since my last one,” he said. “Mentally and physically, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again. My biggest challenge was getting to the 20-mile marker, but once I got there, I knew I was almost home.”

Sarah Cook, 11, pursues her journey to compete in the 2020 Olympics

Last year, when runner Sarah Cooke showed up at the starting line of the 3K event for 9- and 10-year-olds at the state’s Junior Olympics in Charleston, she thought she was way out of her league. There were close to 60 girls there, all attached to running teams and wearing matching uniforms, and all stretching and chatting in small clusters.


Amanda Walton teaches girls life skills through running

When Hilton Head Island resident Amanda Walton laces up her running shoes and hits the pavement with a group of area girls, she’s doing more than taking those girls for a run. She’s teaching them about friendship, self-worth, body image and a lot more.


Bluffton firefighter David Adams set state records in high school and tore up the track in college. Nearly a decade later, he’s lacing up for more.

If you look in the state high school record books for the fastest 5K cross-country runner, you’ll see David Adams’ name next to a blistering 14:37.
“I broke a state record that stood for 11 years before I broke it,” he said. When you consider that his record has now stood for 15 years, you realize what an impressive runner Adams was back in the day. In fact, he nearly beat the state record in the 2-mile but missed it by a single second. The record holder for that was the same guy he beat for the 5K record.

0215-Sports-RunningThe Lowcountry offers the perfect combination for pavement pounders: Flat, friendly and beautiful

“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it."
— Priscilla Welch, master marathon great

It all starts with running few a steps a couple times a week, then a few more the following week and the week after that, and so on.
Keep taking those steps, and soon you too will be a runner and join the ever-growing legion of runners across the country.
Fortunately, we’re standing in one of the best places to run: It’s flat, beautiful, covered with miles of trails and warm enough for year-round running.

0215-sports-hhca qbFormer Hilton Head Christian Academy football star Caleb Lewis has accepted an offer to play for Louisiana State University as a preferred walk-on. Lewis, the son of former HHCA football coach Tommy Lewis, was a two-year starter for the Eagles before he moved with his family to Victory Christian in Lakeland, Florida, where his father was a coach.


Mia Hamm headlines group of former U.S. Women’s National Team members coming to the Lowcountry

Nearly a decade has passed since Mia Hamm retired from competitive soccer, hanging up the cleats that carried arguably the most famous American soccer player of all time to a 17-year career with the U.S. Women's National Team that included two Women's World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals.

First-Tee-LowcountryFirst Tee of the Lowcountry introduces kids to golf through educational programs

Golf needs an influx of new participants who could provide positive forward momentum for the sport. Children need a safe and welcoming environment to play, exposure to positive social and life skills and time spent exercising outside instead of playing online inside.

While it seems like a perfect match of needs and benefits, for a number of reasons golf and juniors haven’t connected the way one might think they should. Chief among those reasons has been a lack of exposure and affordable access to the game for middleclass and less-advantaged children, who have tended to flock more to traditional team sports such as football and soccer that are easier to play and pay for.