Site Spotlight: Richard Johnson – Young Runners

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Learn more about our NYRR Youth Programs! We are 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 723X @ Binova, The Hawks — Bronx, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
Last year I had one student named Messiah who ran all the time. Instead of playing in gym, he ran. Every year we get one student who is gifted at running. However we never pursued an outlet for them.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
Our students loved the attention given to them during practices and at races. They love sharing stories about the different race courses and hard practices.

Can you share a story of how your kids, or one student in particular, have been transformed or impacted by your program?
We have one student by the name of Isaiah who hated to exercise. He had to go on a diet for health reasons. When he started running he loved it. He realized that sometimes it’s all about finishing what you started.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
After the youth Jamboree at Randall’s Island, a group of students came to me and said “We need to practice every day, that’s the only way we are going to get better”.

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
This program has given students who would not normally consider themselves athletes a chance to realize their potential. This program is critical as it promotes healthy living and physical fitness.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I started running in the winter of 2003. I read in a muscle magazine that running was a good way to increase definition. I ended up liking running more than lifting weights.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is Van Courtlandt park. It’s the only course that kills me every time  I run it. I love the fact that although I told my students about that course, they did not take me seriously until they ran that course.

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
I was never a TFK member but I will always be indebted for the contributions they have made to my students.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am a first year track coach! My students are exceptional athletes. Sometimes getting the athlete out of them is a hard task. I ran my first half marathon in March. I will run my first Marathon in November. I hope to break the 3 hour mark. I work with special needs students. I wish I would have discovered this program earlier.

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