Site Spotlight: Eric Hsu – Young Runners

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In which program is your site enrolled?
Young Runners – PS 163Q – Flushing, NY

What was your motivation to start an NYRR Youth program at your site and how has it been implemented?
I had a great experience with my elementary school track team and I wanted my son to have a similar experience. His school did not have a team so I started the NYRR Young Runners program at his school. It is such an honor to be able to positively influence our youth.

Can you share how your students have responded to the program and some of their favorite components?
To give you an idea of how popular the program is, there are more students in the school who want to be part of Young Runners than we could accept. Those who are on the team like the pod championships, which take place yearlong amongst the 6 smaller teams that they are divided into. For practices, we go to Kissena Park and usually run either a 100 meter dash, 400 meter lap, 1 mile challenge, or distance run. The students enjoy going to the park, but they also have a blast playing games in the gym.

Can you share a story of how your kids, or one student in particular, have been transformed or impacted by your program?
A year ago, there was a fourth grade girl who ran in the middle of the pack. With practice and determination, she distinguished herself as the fastest fifth grader this year. She even received a medal for Top Ten Finisher for the 5th and 6th grade division for her performance at the 2015 Young Runners Championship 5k race.

Can you share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
When I asked a student what her goal for the season was, the student said, “I run because other students say I am fat.” She used that as motivation, and she gave her best effort every time. She didn’t let the harsh words of other students get her down, and she is not only a beautiful runner, but a determined individual in the classroom and with her fitness.

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance of the work you are carrying out?
It allows kids to get exercise in a team setting to motivate each other and make it fun. Exercise is important for health and academics, but the program also promotes good teamwork and effort for running and other things in life.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I ran since I was in elementary school. My elementary school had a great gym teacher who held track practice on the weekends. I went to run on my high school team. When I was in the US Navy, I ran races that the base had. After the military, I continued running in NYRR races. That is when I found out about the opportunity to start the Young Runners program at my son’s school. Since starting the program, the students have provided me with motivation each and every day, and they all inspired me to complete the 2014 TCS New York City marathon.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
My favorite place to run is in Kissena Park. I live right next to this park, and the scenery is beautiful with many trails throughout. There are also many people who use this park for running and other exercise activities which provides motivation for me.

Were you ever a TFK member, if so what did you like best about the program?
Yes. I was a TFK member for the 2015 Queens 10K. I liked the fact that I am helping raise funds for a NYRR youth program that I am directly involved with as a coach. I know this fundraiser money is all well spent because I see the programs firsthand. I also love to wear the TFK singlet and run amongst other TFK members and hear all the cheering I get for being a TFK member.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I love to run, and I love sharing this love with others, especially the kids whom I am so lucky to coach. I give my time to Young Runners, but I get so much in return.

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