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Sports Backers Blog

Kids Run RVA Profiles: Meet New Coach Erika Elford

By: Chaz Coleman, Kids Run RVA Program Manager


This month, we had the opportunity to chat with a new Kids Run RVA coach, Erika Elford. Erika is the P.E. teacher at Elizabeth B. Redd Elementary in Richmond, which she joined at the start of this school year after teaching at John Marshall High School. She is in her second week as head coach at Redd, and she hopes to make the same positive impact on students that a previous P.E. teacher made on her. She recalls that this teacher served as both an educator and a role model and gave her opportunities to grow as a person and in running, and she has the same goals for her students.

Erika and the Redd run club

When asked about why she chose to be a coach, Erika told us that it’s a great way to provide positive opportunities to her students. “I think about giving these kids the opportunities similar to what I had. I want to make sure they have that, because they might not get that on their own, or in their home life. Also, I want to show them that they have another outlet, or another resource. I’m not just your P.E. teacher, I’m not just your Run Club Coach. I can be more than that, and be there for you in a time of need.”

Read the rest of our interview with Coach Erika below:

This is your first year coaching. How do you like it so far?

So far, so good. The kids that have shown up are into it! They’re going out and doing their thing, and they’re listening much better than they do in P.E class. I’ve had a lot of great support, and I’ve specifically been working with Faith Hecht at Sports Backers. She answers every email. Everyone has been in touch, making sure that I know what I’m doing too.

What are some traits that define you or make you who you are?

I like to bring good energy! You must make everything count. If you just go about it in a dull way all the time, you’re not going to have fun with it, and also it’s not going to mean that much to you. I think ‘passionate’ would be a great word. When I get on to something, I’m in there. I want to be all about it.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Laundry. Especially the folding portion.

What’s the best vacation you’ve been on?

I went to Costa Rica when I was a senior in college. It was amazing! I’d never been out of the country and just getting to immerse myself into that culture – they’re so nice. I did kayaking, and then zip lining down waterfalls and cliffs throughout this small village in the jungle.

If you were to write a self-help book, what would the topic be? 

Probably something along the lines of “Figuring out how to achieve all the things you want to achieve.”

What was the first concert you’ve ever attended?

I saw Britney Spears in Philadelphia at the Pepsi Center for her Toxic Album tour while I was in elementary school.

What advice do you have for kids that are struggling in school, or with Run Club?

My advice would be that, typically, nothing comes to you right away. Things always take work. And even if you feel like you’ve got it the first time, there’s always more that you can get or understand, so just keep trying and don’t let your inner self talk you down and let you believe you can’t do it, because you can! But then that’s where I come in, that annoying person that wants to keep you going.

How would you define success?

I think success is really defined individually. There isn’t really an all-encompassing definition for it, but it’s whatever you feel like you have been able to do, at a level that is greater than what you normally do.