Tag Archive | racing

Boy With Autism Pursues Division 1 Dream

This article by USA Today Sports High School Sports talks of elite high school runner Michael Brannigan, a rising senior with autism.

The first thing I noticed is that our attention is caught by this article by the fact that this boy has autism. As a future special education teacher, I’ve learned to recognize, and hate, the stigmas that go along with these disabilities. So I was disappointed by the title, but once I got to the end of the article, it made sense. 

Michael won the 2 mile at New Balance Nationals with a time of 8:53. Obviously, he has great talent. The article goes on to talk about Michael’s great accomplishments and dedication to his training. 

But it’s the end of the article that really catches your attention. Michael would like to run for a Division 1 institution, but the NCAA has academic requirements for Division 1 athletes. With a disability. Michael has had a hard time reaching these requirements. And this is where the title comes into play.

Everyone should have equal opportunity. Michael’s parents say they want to petition NCAA, which is a smart decision. This boy has no control over his disability, and as the quote stated by his mother perfectly sums it up:

“Here’s a kid who has talent, dedication, and drive. He’s earned the right to run against the best college runners in the country. Why can’t he have the opportunity?” 

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Racing At The Armory

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This year, our indoor MAAC championship was held at The Armory in NYC. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s one of the most famous track’s in the nation. Just last weekend the facility held the Millrose Games where famous faces such as Mary Cain, Alan Webb, and Nick Symmonds raced.

What a privilege to race here. I didn’t have the race I wanted, but I was so in awe of where I was it didn’t even matter. Especially when I walked in and saw this:

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Prefontaine’s Oregon singlet from the 1970’s

The very singlet worn by the famous Prefontaine. I must have gone up to the class case and drooled over it at least 8 times that day. The walls were covered by the records run at the track, and a familiar face popped up a few times

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All in all, I had more fun just being at the facility than I did watching or participating at the meet. When I think about it it still feels like a dream. If you ever have a chance, definitely drop by. It is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

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Sometime’s I try to pretend I’m cool….here’s an example of when it didn’t work

Best Race In Awhile!

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That photo is a pretty accurate description of how my 5k on the indoor Brockport track went this past Saturday. (25 laps of fun!) I was the only woman on my team to compete in the event, maybe because 25 laps seems a bit insane, but the support I had from my teammates was unbelievable.

Every time I came around they screamed and did the wave. My coach stood on the infield letting me know how I was doing on pace, and I ended up racing 12 seconds better than what I was hoping for. I finished with a 19:18 and feeling that I could have gone harder, but for my first indoor 5k I was pleased. 

In two weeks I will be racing the indoor 5k again at our athletic conference championships at the Armory in NYC, such a treat! I’ve never had the pleasure of going there before so it will definitely be a cool experience. Fingers crossed I can reach my ultimate goal and break 19 minutes! 

Running: Both A Team & Individual Sport

This is always one of the most difficult arguments to get into with a non-runner; is running an individual sport, or a team sport? It’s really a collaboration of both.

In running as a team, it is each individual’s position that moves the team forward. It’s just you against the course. There’s no assists, no “passes,” etc. Sure your teammates can help push you, but in the end it’s all up to you.

The perfect example I can give is a relay. 4 people working towards one common goal together: winning. However, if one person falls off short on their leg, it affects the whole team.

Or trying to make it to a state meet as a team; you have to have a certain number of people place in a top category to all make it together.

The other half of the sport’s individuality, is one working towards their own goals. Who can say they don’t want to do their best when they race? You work hard for those PR’s, you want to reach those goals.

So running is really a double edged sword; you’re working for yourself, but your performance can also affect others, and I think that’s where a lot of the pressure comes in.

What do you think about this topic?

Light At the End of My Tunnel

My shins were hurting something awful yesterday, so I set out to do a couple slow laps in our park on the grass to stay on soft surfaces. Little did I know their would be an elementary school meet going on.

My teammates and I watched the gun go off, and continued our run along side the kids. We cheered and helped motivate those who were walking, and gave them tips. Soon my teammates went their way to complete their 6 miles while I just did my little park run.

As I kept running along side, I came up to a young boy I had seen at the start; and he hadn’t stopped once to walk (a rarity for younger races). I cheered him on, and told him he was doing fantastic

“I got a real bad cramp!” But he kept going!

“Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, it helps” I say to him.

Still no stopping. As we ascended the hill I stayed along side him shouting words of encouragement. We soon came up to the crowd and his coach was yelling “Lets go John, you’re doing awesome!” 

I watched him cross the finish line with a big smile, and never felt prouder for someone. I went up to him and gave him a high five, telling him what a good job he did. He offered me a tired toothy smile in return. 

By the end of the race, I was ready to go up to the coach and give him my number if he ever need a volunteer assistant. 

I’ve often thought about coaching in my future, but I’m still not sure if it’s for me. 

If you’re a runner, you know how tough running can be. Seeing those kids out there working hard in the sun after a long day at school was somewhat enlightening. After having such a bad race on Saturday, it was my light at the end of the tunnel. It is those kids I’ll be thinking about when I’m racing next week.