Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Freshman 10

Going over old coaching plans from the past I came across a runner from 1995. This kid was a freshman I coached when I spent two years at my old high school trying to develop a program. He was not your typical cross country runner, in fact, he was built more for football than for running.

Each kid on the team had individual goals and training plans. This kids was completely different from all of the others. While the others were setting goals of obtaining All-Conference, making it to State, etc... this kid was just trying to put one foot in front of the other. When we sat down to discuss what he wanted out of cross country, he stated that he just wanted to be able to run without stopping. So we set the bar high. We made a goal of running 10 miles without stopping by the end of the cross country season. And you know what, he did it and it meant the world to him.

So why am I bringing this up? I have noticed that most of what I have posted on this blog has been about runners throughout the country who are at an elite level. While they are exciting to watch and read about, they are not the only type of runner that motivate us. Watching the kid I coached achieve his goal (which may seem simple to most cross country runners) was as, or more exciting than seeing some of my other runners make All-Conference. It was inspirational to see someone work so hard at a sport he was told he would never succeed in.

I would love to end the story by telling you that he ended up getting in great shape and becoming an All-State runner, but that's not how it happened. He ran another year or two and then moved on in his life. But I can bet, as an adult, he looks back on that season and the 10 miles and gets the same feeling inside that the All-State runners does as he looks back as well.

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