Sunday, May 1, 2016

Let Me Run Boys - Not a Race


I had the pleasure yesterday of joining a bunch of parents, 2 coaches, and 12 boys at the Red Clay Presbyterian Church.  Our destination and reason for being there was running a 5k, but this turned out for me, not to be about a race.  They embarked on their day at 7:45 am from Carrie Downie Elementary School.  The boys got on a bus and for some reason everyone crowded up to the front with a little bit of nervous energy about what the rest of the day would bring.

Upon arrival it was clear "our boys" were ready, determined, and wanted to do it as a team.  They walked around the meeting/registration space together, went outside together, and made sure to always look out to not leave anyone behind.


Outside they met up with another Let Me Run group from a neighboring school and did a unity lap and some stretching.  They were attracting quite a crowd and many people were asking and talking to "our boys" like they were part of a rock band.


Then the 9 o'clock hour came and a horn sounded.  They ran about 100 yards and realized the race route was not ready, we stopped...  This has never happened before, but "our boys" took it in stride.  They all walked back to the start line and did it again.  This was a sign of what was to come.


For the next hour and about 15 minutes, determination turned into effort and sweat.  Each boy travelled at different paces, each was sure to go back to pull the next in.  This repeated over and over as some boys finished the race multiple times with each team mate.  As the group grew, so did the cheers for the next one increase.  The way in which the finish line was situated did not allow them to see around a corner of a church and therefore the time to prepare for the next finisher was minimal.  They compensated at times by running down the driveway and around the corner to find the next team mate.  They ran them in, they yelled at them to keep going, they even pushed them a little when needed.  In the picture below the ones with the medals are the ones that already finished.


All of the pre-race jitters turned into post-race confidence and a feeling of success for each boy.  They all got a medal for completion and two boys also got first and third in their age group.  You could say they came, they saw, they conquered, but not in the way a viking might overtake a new world.  More in the way that was proof to themselves that they could create goals, work hard, accomplish these goals, and then bask in the glory of just being done.


The transformation I saw in just one hour and 15 minutes, went from nervous, unsure, a little scared to confidence, camaraderie, and a sense of accomplishment.  This was my big takeaway from the day.  I think if I asked them their big takeaway, they would say all the lessons they learned and knowing they were a part of something special from the first practice.


I also saw 12 boys that I could not be more proud of and excited to be able to say I know and interact with on a regular basis.  They did us (#cddolphins) proud, they did themselves something so much more.  They did each other an experience they will probably never forget or even appreciate themselves.  I saw it, hard to describe it, but when it hit me, I knew I felt it.  


Thanks Ms. Burke, Thanks Mr. Lattimer, Thanks Mr. Wilkie (videographer/photographer), Thanks Parents, but truly Thanks boys for reminding me again why I love my job and why sometimes just sitting back and watching is all you really need to do.

Oh, how could I forget.  For a couple of the boys that did not go home right after the race with their parents, one father was nice enough to buy some smoothies, coffee less Frappuccino, and other drinks from Starbucks on the way back.  Our bus driver did not mind the detour!  What else do you do after a 5k....?

Video put together by Coach Burke below documenting the season -




8 comments:

  1. What a wonderful day you all had! Loved reading this!

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    1. Thanks Chrissie,

      It really was a special day. There was a great connection with these boys, that I got to experience on Saturday.

      Doug

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  2. I agree with your sentiments about yesterday's 5k really not being a "race" at all. In fact, the journey I witnessed yesterday was more than 3.1 miles! Their excited nervousness was very apparent on the bus and during packet pick up upon arrival. Many admitted to me their uncertainty and all I could do was reassure them that they were ready and to just run their own race. I don't think they believed me, although I'm sure they wanted to. Looking back, I'm glad they didn't believe me right then and there because when they started believing in themselves-whether that occurred during the race or at it's completion-that's when the real lessons from Let Me Run, the real "training" came into play. I saw it, you saw it, I think everyone there saw it. Fortunately, it was even captured in photo and video form thanks to the many supporters that came out. Running is an individual sport. However, I'm glad that this particular race was "ran" as a team; a team of parents, teachers, students, and even new found friends made along the way. I couldn't be more proud of them or more honored to have coached them. They definitely represented themselves, their families, and the entire Carrie Downie community in such a way that said, "We don't give up. We won't give up. We are #cddolphins" I'm glad that Let Me Run provided them with an avenue to let their true selves shine through and allowed all of us who love them so dearly to see them in yet another light and appreciate them. They were definitely a team in it's truest form. Thank you, Doug, for your support in allowing this program to exist at Carrie Downie Elementary and for taking the risk in offering something new to our boys. I appreciate all the behind the scenes work you did too in order to ensure that we had a successful season. My hope is this experience is just the beginning of them continuing to find ways to "run" a successful "race".

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    1. Rosy,

      You did a great job leading this group! They lived up to their mantras of the program and the expectations of what they are trying to learn. It was really a great day for them and I think I may have learned a thing or two as well!

      Thanks,
      Doug

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  3. Thanks for sharing! It's great to read back here in Charlotte that the Let Me Run mission is spreading. It can only be done by great coaches and other supporters of the program.

    -Paul G. Martino

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  4. What an awesome e story! It is special that you (Doug) were able to be present and enjoy the race! Being able to articulate the days events through your perspective allows the people that couldn't attend to almost feel as though we were there!

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  5. What an awesome e story! It is special that you (Doug) were able to be present and enjoy the race! Being able to articulate the days events through your perspective allows the people that couldn't attend to almost feel as though we were there!

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  6. Thanks Beth, it was not only fun, but inspiring to me, to see them interact! Our future is good if these boys are a representation of that.

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