The secret to being a runner is taking the first step

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's week 5 of the Couch to 5K running program, an 8-week training regimen put on by Run-N-Tri and headed by Lisa McCombs.

"Everyone can run, we were born to run," said McCombs with a smile.

Perhaps it's that can-do attitude that enticed Ethelina Harris to take her first steps as a runner.

"I'm doing this for my kids," said the 33-year-old Gulfport resident. "I'm trying to get more healthy."

John Barnes, 45, admits running was intimidating at first, but he quickly realized it's all relative.

"You don't want to be a marathon runner, you don't have to," said the Gulfport resident. "If you just get out there and do something, move."

As they began their three mile trek, each at their own pace, McCombs said determination is key.

"Set some goals, sign up for a 5k or 10k or a half that you want to complete," said McCombs. "Tell people. Write it down. Post it on Facebook."

While it's fun, Harris and Barnes admit it's also strenuous.

"I keep telling myself, 'keep going, keep going,'" said Harris. "Cause if I stop, I'm not going to want to start back."

"It's tough, you know. Just got to do it," said Barnes. "It's easier to sit on the couch. But, you know, so is getting fat."

Along their route, they remember to hydrate, and don't over-do it. Walking isn't a bad thing.

In the end, they said there's nothing like the since of accomplishment you get from finishing a run.

"It feels good to be back. It's one of the greatest feelings to be back," said Barnes.

McCombs said signing up for races and setting goals is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable.

WLOX will be hosting the inaugural Red Dress 5k and 1 mile run August 30th to benefit the American Heart Association. More information can be found here:

You still have a few weeks to train. So get started now and prepare to run with all your heart.

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