If you think that the marathon distance is a long way, try running one when you are the Coach! That will most certainly be a 35-mile day – easy!! Such was the case for me at this year’s Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego held on Sunday June 5, 2005.
I am now the Coach for the Long Beach Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training running and walking programs. You know those folks – the ones with all of the purple shirts (Hey, I did not choose the colours!).
What a rewarding experience! Not only is money raised for the good cause of eradicating blood cancers through each participant’s fundraising, but each athlete trains to complete his or her own goal of completing a chosen event – whether it be a half or full marathon, a triathlon, or cycling. There is nothing like knowing that you had a hand in helping someone achieve what for them may have been a life long personal goal as well!
TNT has four training seasons throughout the year which target different events in various locales. Which, with everyone’s varied background when starting the Program it certainly poses a challenge for me as their Coach!
I work with the great crew of my Co-Coach John and a cadre of Captains and Mentors who help with many of the tasks required for a successful season. With my staff, we train our “Mentees” to walk, run, or run/walk their events comfortably and safely. We hope!!
This year’s RNR was quite an experience for me. While I have been active in Event Production for many years, at every previous event I had always walked past the TNT Pasta Party ballrooms and heard a lot of fun-sounding noise. This time I was amongst 5000 hopeful (and nervous!) marathoners. With most of them attempting the full monty for the first time and knowing that I had completed over 180 marathons, I was bombarded with scores of last-minute questions not only from my Long Beach Team but from many of the other chapters as well. That experience in itself was tiring!!
On race day we all met at the VIP tent where I was hanging out near the start for last second encouragement and instructions. Then it was off on each person’s own day of trials, tribulations, and SUCCESSES!!
I started as one of the very last participants so that as the day progressed I could work my way through all the participants and share time with each of my peeps along the way. I was able to catch most of them by day’s end and offer on-course encouragement and advice (they asked for it!). Running back and forth so much was tiring but the hundreds of TNT supporters along the way (and the bands!) made the day even more enjoyable.
Accompanying this article are a couple photos showing the RNR team and some of my current team at this past weekend’s Redondo Beach 5K. I now have over 60 members training for events in Maui, Long Beach, and San Francisco. Man, I hope I do not have to run in each of those – I don’t know if I could do it!
While this is not an advertisement, if anyone has any questions about TNT or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, feel free to ask me. Whether as a Participant or Coach, it certainly is a worthwhile experience!!!