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Austintown native named Pacer and Ambassador
March 27, 2019

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Christina Toth has earned the title of "Pacer Coordinator" and for the second year in a row, has been named Ambassador for the Youngstown Marathon. Both positions help promote and run the local marathons.

Toth graduated from Austintown Fitch High School in 1997. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball at Fitch, and set some records.

"I held the career rebounding record (boys and girls) for the past 22 years," she said. "It was just beat this year."

Toth was also recently inducted into the Austintown Fitch Hall of Fame for all three sports (volleyball, basketball, and softball). That induction took place in September of 2018.

After graduating from Fitch, Toth went on to Thiel College where she played volleyball. During her athletic career at Thiel she set eight school records and was named MVP for her last three years. She graduated in 2001 and went on to earn her master's degree in teacher leadership from Walden University.

Toth is now in her 18th year of teaching high school mathematics at Ravenna High School. She no longer coaches; but has served as varsity volleyball coach for eight years, varsity softball for eight years and middle school girl's basketball coach for two years, as well as prom advisor for the past 15 years. Today her spare time is spent on her passion.

"I have been running since 2012, I have completed two full marathons and five half marathons," she said. "I also usually run one or two 5Ks or 10Ks per month where the money goes to a local charity."

Being named pacer coordinator is an honor, but also comes with some responsibility. A pacer coordinator is in charge of finding people to "pace" a running group for a particular goal time the runners hope to achieve to complete the marathon or half marathon.

"We have pacers for the half marathon and the full marathon," Toth said. "A pacer is a runner that is in charge of pacing their particular group of runners who want to run that minute mile and finish for example in four hours for the full marathon and two hours for the half marathon."

She said there will be six half marathon pacers and four full marathon pacers this year. As coordinator, her job is to choose the pacers (from their applications), and coordinate the pacers in their "pace" position. She is also in charge of making sure that pacers are at training runs so that runners get used to running with their pacer, whose job is to encourage and motivate runners to continue throughout the race and to finish the race in their pace.

Toth is also honored to be in the role of ambassador for the second consecutive year.

"This is my second year as an Ambassador for the Youngstown Marathon," she said. "I ran the full marathon in 2017 and 2018, and this year I am running the half marathon. An Ambassador's job is to promote the Youngstown Marathon, as well as the training race (Run Ytown 5 and 10 milers), and the other races in the series (The Firecracker 4-miler in Canfield and the Peace Race 10K). Ambassadors promote on social media, word of mouth and at running/health expos and/or other races."

Toth said to run a marathon takes months of preparation to develop motivation and mental toughness. Other important factors include healthy eating, proper sleep and rest, and training, training, training. For Toth, that means having a great partner, and that position falls on her father Jeff Toth.

"We train four days a week together on the trail and three days a week together at planet fitness," Toth said. "I could not do what I do without his support."

This year's Youngstown Marathon is on Oct 27, 2019. Toth said it moved to a fall marathon for a few reasons.

"Conditions are usually much more runner friendly in October compared to the heat and humidity in June," she said. "Also in regards to the weather, with a fall marathon, runners will train in the summer and fall in nicer conditions compared to a June marathon where you train all winter long in snow and freezing temperatures."

The marathon is part of a three race series (all different distances, not marathons). The series includes the Firecracker 4 miler on July 4 (Canfield), the Peace Race on Oct 13 which has a 2-mile and 10K (Youngstown), and the Youngstown Marathon which has a 5K, half marathon and full marathon (Oct 27).

"We also have a training race on April 14, the Run Ytown, 5- and 10-miler (Boardman)," Toth added.

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