The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 3, 2004

Features

Lace up your running shoes for "Run for the Runners" at CCHS on September 12

Olivia Cooney and Debbie Power train for the Mother-Daughter division of "Run for the Runners." They won in that category last year. (Courtesy photo)

Parents of young athletes learn quickly that their own participation in their kids' sports is par for the course. Whether it's coaching a T-ball team, furnishing orange segments for the home bench, chaperoning an out-of-town meet or listening to endless recaps of the big match the next morning, there's usually a lot more to being a player's parent than cheering from the sidelines. But with its upcoming "Run for the Runners," the CCHS boys' and girls' track teams are taking parental participation to a new level: moms and dads, as well as siblings, relatives and friends, are encouraged at this yearly event to lace up their running shoes and hit the course.

Lynn Knight of Fern Lane, who is a member of the parents' committee for CCHS track, explains how this popular event began last spring. "We held the first Run for the Runners in March. There was a lot of support even though it really wasn't well publicized and the weather leading up to the run wasn't conducive to outdoor training. Still, it was a lot of fun, and over eighty runners took part. This time, we wanted to do it early enough in the season so that it wouldn't interfere with the teams' regular racing schedule." CCHS track coach Tom Hart says that there is an additional advantage to moving the run from spring to fall: "The course is going to be in much better condition this time."

As a parent, Knight finds it particularly rewarding to take part in an athletic event that doubles as a family bonding experience. Her involvement with CCHS track began when her daughter Cassi joined the team two years ago as a freshman. "I'm not a runner, but I'll be assisting with the race," she says. "My husband and my son Matt, who is going to be a CCHS freshman, will be running along with Cassi. For many runners, it ends up being a family event. It's nice to see how many parents of team members are runners themselves. You never know who inspired whom. In our family, my husband starting running after Cassi became interested in it, but in other families, it's probably the parent who inspired the child." Knight says that in her opinion, the most intense rivalries on the course occur between boys and their fathers: "Last time, we saw some boys go all out to make sure they beat their dads."

Sixteen-year-old Cassi Knight began running track as a fifth grader in Carlisle and hasn't stopped since. She says that running with her father and brother is just one aspect of the fundraiser that appeals to her. "We don't usually get to run with the guys' team, so that's one interesting thing about this event," she says. "It's neat to meet everyone's parents, and it's just fun to go out there with your friends and have a blast. We saw some much younger kids running with their parents. It's not a hugely competitive event; it's just a way to pull the community together and have some fun."

Coach Tom Hart points out that another strength of the event is that it exposes many runners who are accustomed to road races to the peculiarities of cross-country running. The unpaved 2-7-mile course travels through hilly woods and across grassy fields. "A lot of people aren't really aware of cross-country running," Hart says. "Even though the CCHS teams have been very successful, it's a low-profile sport. This is a particularly challenging course, but anyone who wants to test themselves on it will have a lot of fun being part of this race. I'm going to run it myself, and I'm going to be cheering loudly for a lot of other people."

The money raised by the event benefits the boys' and girls' track teams. Last year the funds raised were used to buy new finish-line equipment; this year the teams plan to purchase a record board to recognize the teams' ongoing achievements. Registration forms are available by email from David Storto at dstorto@partners.org or in hard-copy format at Ferns.

"Run for the Runners"

A 2.7-mile cross-country run on September 12 at 12 noon, beginning with check-in at the CCHS Lower Gym.

Registration fee $15.

Everyone who registers by September 1 receives a free t-shirt.

Registration forms available in hard copy at Ferns or via email from dstorto@partners.org.

For more information, contact dstorto@partners.org.


2004 The Carlisle Mosquito