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Running for health

POSTED: August 10, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Photo by Mark Swendra/

Sara Maltby, a local runner and volunteer coach, whose running group has begun raising money to help pay for school lunches.

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Growing up, Sara Maltby wasn’t into sports, or fitness in general. That can be difficult when you have severe asthma.

She said she was sick all the time - and very depressed. She never walked more than a mile.

It wasn’t until she was 23, and attended a marathon, when she witnessed a man crossing the finish line hooked to an oxygen tank.

It was on that day, Maltby says, that she became inspired. She bought her first pair of running shoes and a sports bra.

Knowing the health benefits of running, Maltby that year ran her first 5K, then her first five miles. She "got tricked into" her first half-marathon" and two years later, her first full marathon. "I noticed a change in my mood immediately," she said. "It gave me purpose." The physical benefits followed.

Since then, Maltby, who says she still struggles with asthma, "it never goes away," and carries her inhaler on her runs, has become active in the running community. She runs all types of races, both locally and in other states — some as long as 100 miles, called ultra-distance.

Four years ago, she and her husband Adam moved to Richmond Hill from Seoul, South Korea. At that time, Adam was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield. He has since retired and is a flight safety teacher. They have two young children.

When she’s not working with Coastal Triathlon as a volunteer coach, or assisting at various Fleet Feet running events in the Coastal Empire, Maltby is active in two groups: Swamp Ass Running Cooperative (which she formed) and the Savannah chapter of Moms Run This Town.

Members of these running groups have been instrumental in donating and helping organize fundraisers to help Richmond Hill area schools pay off school lunch debt, ensuring that no student goes without food even if they can’t pay.

On a recent Wednesday night, about a dozen runners braved the heat, humidity and threat of rain, to gather together at the Richmond Hill High School track for something called "Community Track Night." It’s the diversity of this group — power walkers, short and long-distance runners, and novices all coming together that make this group special.

"Some have never run a 5K — and some have gotten to 50K," Maltby said. "They have made me proud as a coach and fellow runner."

Several of these running groups can be reached online:

Moms Run This Town — momsrunthistown.com (main website). Search for local chapters.

Coastal Triathlon Club — https://coastaltriathlonclub.com

FACEBOOK group pages (closed access, but can ask to join group ) —

Search MRTT Savannah

Search SARC

Search Coastal Triathlon Club

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