“As you can gather, these are NOT your average teenagers.”
It’s not often that I acknowledge specific members of my Team Over The Top youth running brigade. This will be one of the few exceptions. It comes about as the first phase of my winter running clinic comes to a close. My Team Over The Toppers have been training diligently since January 3, 2014 for:
- the Around the Bay 30 km road race on March 30
- the Mississauga 1/2 and full Marathons on May 4
Three members of my team are ages 15, 16 and 17. Their names are Patrick, Jill and Paige respectively. Patrick has come up through the ranks of my Youth Running Clinic where he started training with me as an 11 year old – we both felt he was ready to train with my adult team this fall (as a 14 year old). Jill had been running competitively and training with a local track club when she started working with me privately as a 13 year old. She graduated to my adult team last year as a 14 year old and proceeded to run her 1st marathon (the Hamilton Road To Hope) in Novemeber, 2013 as a 15 year old – 2nd youngest in the race and 1st overall in her age group. Paige joined my adult team this fall as a 16 year old coming off a 3rd place finish in the Region of Peel senior girls’ cross country championship and a spot in the All-Ontario finals. She was looking for more technical training and travels 40 kilometres from her home to join us on weekends. Paige had never run further than 6 kilometres (albeit at a highly competitive level). By December, 2013, she was up to regular 12 kilometre runs leading to the Egg Nog Jog 10.8 kilometre race in the hills of Terra Cotta (rated as one of North America’s toughest road races). Paige dominated the course, finishing 2nd in the Girls’ 19 & under group as a 16 year old.
Currently, all three of them have set lofty goals. Paige will be racing the full Around The Bay 30 kilometre race as will Patrick (quite possibly as the youngest in the field). Jill is by-passing the Bay race to focus on running a personal record Mississauga 1/2 Marathon (she ran it in 1:44:12 last year as a 15 year old) and compete for her high school in track races this spring and cross country in the fall. Patrick will carry on from the Bay race to do the FULL Mississauga Marathon (most definitely as the youngest in the race) – he did the 1/2 Marathon and the Bay 2-person relay last year as a 14 year old! The verdict is still out on Paige and spring races. She competes on the track for her high school – this may take priority.
As you can gather, these are NOT your average teenagers. They are special, they are difference-makers, they are risk-takers, they are TOUGH AS NAILS!!
Their focus and commitment have common roots:
- all come from supportive, happy families
- all have the undying support of parents who truly care BUT know when to get the hell out of the way
- all have inherited special genetic components that separate them out from most of their peers
- all are respectful, insightful, intensely proud
- all are ‘coachable’, trainable and eager to improve
- all set incredibly high goals but put in the work to achieve them
As you can also gather, I am proud of them and feel privileged to be working as their coach. To use a rather old cliche, the best is yet to come!!
Parents, be sure to check out my upcoming spring youth clinic, starting soon (March 26th, 2014)