Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Running

For the past few weeks I have been driving to Canaan, NH three days a week to coach a group of middle school runners.  Stemming off the successful cross-country program that we commenced in the fall, this new spring running group has thirty-five energetic kids.  However, due to the lack of a nearby track facility, my middle school athletes forgo the typical spring track season and train for various local road races in the area.  Seen more has a conditioning program and an extension of cross-country, my middle schoolers train to be able to compete in three and four mile races.  Coaching the kids has been a lot of fun, and it is neat to be able to watch the transformation of athletes that I had in the fall.  Runners who used to be timid and unsure of themselves are now begging to be able to run one more hill repeat or an extra lap around the field.  To be able to watch them enjoy the sport that I love has been a great pleasure.  Last weekend we even saw our first race of the year.  Since the race was on Mother’s Day, only a few of the kids were able to make it, but the ones who did had fantastic results.  The race was a tough trail 5km through mud and over a roller-coaster of hills.  All the kids raced tough and many of them landed on various age group podiums and one of the older boys even ended up placing fourth overall.  The best story came from one of the younger boys, who was unsure of himself leading into the race, concerning that he wouldn’t be able to make it around the entire course.  I assured him that he would be fine and that he has been training well and would surprise himself.  After finishing, he was exhausted claiming that it was the hardest thing he had ever done and that he would never do it again.  But that all quickly changed when he learned that he had won his age-group and after collecting his award, he was already talking about the next race.  



The few who braved the first race of the year


Until next time,

Ben


Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Esperanza 5km


Last night I jumped in my car and drove up to Maine to take part in the Esperanza 5k and to support Safe Passage.  Safe Passage is an organization that works in Guatemala City to bring hope, education and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the City’s garbage dump.  By giving children the tools and finances necessary to an garnish an education, Safe Passage provides a way for children to rise up from poverty.  The race, which was organized by a former high school teammate of mine, took part in my home town.  
Finish of the 5k on my high school track
It was great to be able to return to Greely High School and be the master of ceremonies for such a wonderful event.  While I didn’t partake in the 5k myself, I did lace up the shoes to run the in kid’s 300m fun run and somehow managed to mistime my final sprint and ended up finishing last.  

Lining up for the kid's fun run (I'm the tall one in the back)
The day's beautiful weather helped aid a large turnout for the race and an even more impressive thirteen thousand dollars for the charity.  Being able to return home and help an organization that gives so much to others was a treat.  I can only hope to be able to return next year and help raise more money and awareness for Safe Passage, all awhile spreading the joy of running throughout the community.

Where it all started: me and my high school coaches

Until next time,

Ben