“So…any plans for the weekend?”
A question that is asked each Friday at 3:45pm.
I’m always excited to share the prospect of a “perfect weekend”. Spending time with family and friends, being outdoors away from the glow of fluorescent lights, spending Sunday afternoons yelling at the television hoping that the Philadelphia Eagles hear and understand my frustration with how they are playing.
To me, for a very long time, this was my idea of the “perfect weekend”. It was not long before the idea would completely change.
Growing up, I was an athletically inclined person. I played Soccer, Basketball, Football, and ran track. So when I began to take up running again after I graduated college, I thought it would be an easy task. Little did I know it was going to take a great deal of work to get myself to devote time to it each day. Once I did, I began to feel great. However, I knew something was missing from it. Perhaps there needed to be cakes at the end of the races I ran. Perhaps cakes that said “We all need a little motivation… There is chocolate inside”. Maybe not… but still I knew something was missing.
I ran Broad Street last year and I can remember running one of the best races of my life. Mile 6 changed everything for me. I began to see kids pass me and not just one or two kids, but mobs of kids one after the other in bright royal blue shirts. It was both shocking and inspirational. Shocking because I thought I was running very fast. (Clearly I was not!) Inspirational because at their age I remember being more focused on TMNT, Pokémon, Power Rangers and everything else that wasn’t running! (To be a 90s kid again.) It was so amazing to see what these kids were accomplishing. I remember being able to read one of the kid’s shirts as they zoomed passed me. “Students… Run… Faster… Than… You” No, no that could not be it. I read it again “Students Run Philly Style”. Simply amazing.
It just so happened that two of my friends were awesome running leaders as well. So I thought I would go to a meeting and see what it was about. Little did I know, I would find something incredible. I joined Team Waring which has some of the most awesome kids (and leaders!) I know!
The students in SRPS are both amazing and inspiring. They have to juggle their personal lives, studies at school all while attempting to train for a Half or Full Marathon throughout the year. This takes a large amount of perseverance and self-confidence that is on display each and every time they lace up their running sneakers.
“Finishing a race is a great accomplishment. But the hard work it takes to get there is even more impressive.”
The students are not the only people who have made an impact on me: my fellow leaders have as well. It amazes me that many of these leaders are school teachers who already have long days filled with many different responsibilities. The fact that they then devote more hours in their already busy week to giving students time and attention with their running is truly amazing. These leaders have not just become people I see three times a week: they are people that I can call friends. We come together for a common goal: to inspire kids to feel great about themselves and lead an active lifestyle through running.
“So…any plans for the weekend?”
Yes! I will be I lacing up my running shoes, heading down to Kelly Drive and running with some of the best students in Philly. To me, my idea of the “perfect weekend” is not just hanging out or watching TV, it’s motivating students to get out , run and inspire and amaze the world they live in.
“Run Often. Run Long. And as always, do it Philly Style”