Through the Eyes of a Kids Run RVA Coach
Written by Kids Run RVA Coach Ali Molitor
I didn’t always enjoy running. In fact, in elementary school, I was usually the last one to finish the mile run when it came time for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. It wasn’t until high school when I began to enjoy running and college when I ran my first marathon for a charity that I realized running was a way to give back to others and help them find a passion for fitness.
My first experience with Kids Run RVA was as an intern with Sports Backers. I knew that the running clubs made possible through the program encouraged local students to be active, but I had no idea the full extent of how positive and powerful it was until I became a run club coach in the fall of 2015.
I went into the coaching experience excited to make a difference in the lives of local kids. You see, I am lucky. When I decide to go out for a run, I am lucky enough to have to choose between different pairs of running shoes to wear. I am lucky enough not have to worry about whether the route I’ll choose is safe. I am lucky enough to have the apparel and equipment to keep warm on a winter run and cool on a summer run. For many of the kids who participate in the Kids Run RVA program, they don’t have those choices. They rely on their coaches to provide a safe environment for them to run and play in, and some even receive their first pair of running shoes from the program.
From the first day of running club, I’ve had a blast with the kids. For those of you who haven’t spent time around elementary school students recently, they are hilarious. Their wisdom and candor is unmatched. They also love rules. Don’t even think about trying to cut corners on a relay race with elementary school students, because they will call you on it. They show up every day ready to work hard and have fun. Spending time with the kids at running club has become one of the highlights of my week. Watching them grow and improve over the course of the fall and spring season is so inspiring. I think the highlight of both seasons was running in the fall and spring races, the Call Federal Marathon Jr. and the Virginia 529 Kids Run, with the kids and watching them accomplish what some of them didn’t think they were capable of finishing.
To anyone who is considering volunteering as a Kids Run RVA coach, I would highly recommend that you do. These kids don’t care if you have been running for decades or just started running last week. The most important part to them is that you’re willing to spend part of your day running and playing with them. Fill out an application. You’ll be glad you did.