Site Spotlight – Maureen Carson – Young Runners

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Learn more about our NYRR Youth Programs! Over the next few months we will be sharing profiles on teachers from across the country who work first-hand with the NYRR Youth Programs that Team for Kids’ fundraising efforts support. These select individuals are not just dedicated coaches and coordinators, but also runners who will be joining our 2015 TCS New York City Marathon class and 50,000 other runners this November. Read their stories on our blog under the Site Spotlight category for insight on the NYRR Youth Programs and to hear inspirational quotes from students and parents.

In which program is your site enrolled?
Young Runners

What is the name of your site? Where are you located?
PS 691 Bronx Little School – Bronx, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
I am a life-long runner and my two children, boys, are now collegiate runners. I wanted to bring the passion that I have for running to the elementary school where I teach. I coached a Young Runners program previously in a middle school where I first started my teaching career as a career changer.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
We have 40 students who regularly attend our practices. They have a nice camaraderie and are supportive of each other. They love traveling to races and testing themselves in competition. They also like running in relay teams. We try to incorporate not only running in our practices, but strength building exercises and character development, and I think they’re beginning to see the value of all components.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
I’m in the process of making a video of our team for one of NYRR’s incentives, and I really like what one girl said when asked about why she runs: “I run because I will have a healthier life so when I’m older, I’ll be in shape and I’ll be healthy.” To me, that means that the seed has been firmly planted and she’ll develop a lifelong commitment to running. She also values the health benefits of running.

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
I think the biggest benefit of the program is that it gives these children from disadvantaged backgrounds exposure to something that they otherwise would not have exposure to. I also think it’s important to teach them while they’re young about the benefits of exercise, health, and perseverance.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running when I joined the track team in high school in the 70s after briefly trying field hockey, which I didn’t like very much. My father also started running around this time during the 70s running boom. We often ran together, and I ran the NYC marathon with him in 1982 (with very little training, no more than 12 miles). It was one of the best times of my life. Unfortunately he passed away in 1992.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run right now is the Rockefeller Estate Preserve in Tarrytown, NY. It’s all off-road trails and extremely beautiful. It’s one of the best places to run in the NYC area.

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
Yes, I ran the NYC marathon as a member of TFK in 2008, the year I started a Young Runners program in the middle school where I previously taught. I like the training support, and I attended some of their training runs in Central Park. At that time, I hadn’t run a marathon in more than 20 years.

Why did you choose to run the TCS New York City Marathon and what number marathon is this for you?
The NYC marathon will always be special to me because it was the first marathon that I ever ran and I ran it with my dad. It’s also the most exciting, exhilarating experience to finish it. I think this will be number 8 for me.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I’m 54 years old. I’m a special education teacher at Bronx Little School. I have been teaching for 10 years. I’m married and have two boys who are in college at SUNY Geneseo. They are also competitive runners. I did not run competitively in college, but I never stopped running. My husband does not run. My boys and I are members of NYRR and Westchester Track Club. I’m not too competitive right now, but like to race occasionally for fun. I also play the violin, or fiddle, because I like to play Irish music with friends for fun. I try to play in Irish music sessions as much as possible in Westchester and NYC. I also just started taking up Irish dancing again for fun after 40 years, having done it as a kid. It’s great exercise!

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