Training with Flexibility


For most of us, training for a marathon is a huge undertaking with  logistics beyond simply going for a run. According to Runner’s World, a beginner’s marathon training schedule should take 16 weeks, with 16-44 miles run per week ( If you are running 8-minute miles that’s at least six hours of running and prep time each week! Then there is nutrition to manage, weather to negotiate, recovery, family, sleep, injury management, work, and the fun stuff.  

Kevin Krech, PE, one of Isthmus Engineering’s Associate Transportation Engineers, took on these logistics challenges for the 2016 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. He serves as a lead designer on many Minnesota highway design and renovation projects, is Isthmus’s IT guru, and has two small children at home. In other words, he has his marathon training work cut out for him.

Surprisingly, working at Isthmus has uncomplicated Kevin’s marathon pursuits. He was hired by president and founder, Katherine “Katie” Toghramadjian, PE as her first employee, in 2004. Since then he has run five marathons, three of which were the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Isthmus Engineering’s philosophy is that by providing flexible, customized work schedules, it makes it easier for employees to pursue other interests while maintaining project and home commitments. For Kevin, this meant he could integrate his marathon training schedule into his work schedule. It was still challenging but the flexibility made it easier to manage. “We can create our own hours at Isthmus if our work gets completed.” Additionally, Kevin found the Downtown St. Paul building amenities very useful. “The facilities here allowed me to combine my work with my training,” he noted, referring to the quality ADA accessible men’s and women’s showers. He would often get to the office early, complete his training run, and be showered and ready for the day without further interruption.

The Why of Distance Running

Kevin had this to say about why he ran, “I was part of Team World Vision this year, a fundraising effort focused on the environmental justice of accessible clean water. Most of the fundraising in this campaign is supporting projects in Africa, but World Vision has water projects all over the world. Just $50 provides drinking water for a single person for their entire lifetime.” He shared this and other important clean water facts with his community and raised $900 on his own. The entire Team World Vision Twin Cities Marathon fundraising effort raised about $850,000. Kevin noted, “Together we helped 16,000 people get access to clean water.”

Kevin celebrates with his family at Isthmus' Saint Paul offices.


Co-worker Amy DeBruin cheered Kevin on during the marathon and gave him a high-five on the course. Kevin used the Glympse ® phone app to broadcast his location so friends and family would know where he was on the course when getting situated to see him. He said, “When I crossed the finish line I put my arms up for the picture. Then I immediately pulled out my phone and called Black Sheep pizza and ordered the #5 and the #8—extra-large.” He worked his way through the mass of finishers to receive his medal. Then he went back to the office for a celebratory meal with his family, atop Isthmus’s accommodating roof-top deck.

Kevin says, “I’m a lifelong runner. It was a struggle to fit in the training this time due to increased responsibilities at Isthmus and with two small children at home. I also like to change things up—I cycle and lift weights, too.” For the winter months Kevin said he’s going to hang up his running shoes but foreshadowed, “When it warms up in the spring I know I’ll get the bug and want to get out and run again.”

Kevin’s Long Run

Age: 35
Marathon: #5
Running shoe: Nike Men's FS Lite Run 3
Finishing time: 4:04
Best 5 miles: “Definitely along Summit Avenue—there were people the whole way!”
When the wall was hit: “Around mile 18 and 19 my legs would not allow for my quicker pace and they tightened up. By mile 20 I was walking through the water stations. The tightening of the legs never let up.”

Isthmus’ president, Katie Toghramadjian, PE, notes that from a company health standpoint staying fit and happy is good for the Isthmus team. She indicated that, like Kevin, several team members make it a priority to fit in regular exercise. By providing showers and standing or sitting desk options with ergonomic seating, Isthmus’ approach actively encourages employees to pursue work-life balance. 

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