Warm-up.

Heidi Reyes-Francisco and Katy Lancaster, of Glendale Adventist, do an aerobic warmup, lead by All About You Wellness Boot Camp at the Glendale Downtown Dash, in Glendale, on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The race is to benefit Glendale Adventist Stroke Services. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

By 8 a.m. Sunday morning, nearly 50 people in exercise attire were at Chess Park to begin training for the fifth-annual Downtown Dash.

Dede Holguin of Santa Clarita was one. “Every chance I get, I try to do something to make me go an extra distance,” she said.

The annual 5K run/walk draws hundreds of people to race in downtown Glendale. Proceeds benefit Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s stroke services.

Holguin, a former Montrose resident, participated last year, two years after joining All About You Wellness Bootcamp. The women who run the camp — Nar Minassian and Elaine Miller — also train people for the race.

“I used to be morbidly obese,” Holguin said. “Because of the training program they have, they’ve made me psychologically know that I can do this.”

The training program meets every Sunday until race day, March 11.

Glendale resident Jorge Ramirez arrived with his wife, who suggested the pair sign up. “She convinced me to try to be healthy, too,” he said.

Miller and Minassian led the group through stretches. Then they split into different pace groups and embarked on a run, walk or jog for 15 minutes.

“Over the eight weeks we add distance, then we start adding speed,” Miller said. “By race day they’re right at their peak, ready to run a great race.”

But once-a-week activity wouldn’t do, Miller added. Each participant was given a blue form. Under “Homework” was outlined a minimum amount of exercise people should get at home — cardiovascular exercises twice a week, strength training twice a week and flexibility training such as yoga, pilates or stretching once a week.

“If they only come on Sundays they’re not going to be ready for the race,” Miller said. “They need to do some during the week as well.”


Info box: To join the Dash Runners Training Program, call (818) 437-5523 or visit AAYBootCamp.com.