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From George Washington High to Marathon High

September 12, 2012

For the last five years I have been a don. My life was filled being a student athlete at the University of San Francisco. My mornings would be filled with team practice, followed by a quick breakfast and, a dash to class. For five years I simultaneously worked towards three main goals. First, being the fastest athlete I could be. Second, graduating with my BA in history and, finally, completing my masters in education in order to become a high school social studies teacher.

Last spring semester was my tenth and most stressful semester at USF. I was competing in my final season of track and field in the NCAA while simultaneously teaching Modern World History and Economics at George Washington High School. While I loved being a teacher and helping my students on a daily basis, I quickly learned that competing at the highest level while holding down a role as a high school teach is no easy task. As the semester passed by it became clearer by the day that being the best runner I could be while simultaneously being the best teacher I could be was draining. I ended my classes and my practices wishing for more time to prepare for races and teaching.

When my track season and graduate school came to an end in June I was finally able to reflect on the last semester and begin to plan for my future. While I loved teaching, I quickly concluded I did not need to start my career as a high school educator at 23 years of age. In contrast, I knew that my window to pursue elite running was small. I couldn’t pick up training for the Olympic trails when I was 53. Thus, I made the decision to have my primary focus be running and I committed to joining the Rogue Athletic Club in Austin.

While this decision made sense from the perspective of an athlete, I had to acknowledge that this decision was putting my career as an educator at risk. How would future employers look at my resume? Would I lose all of the skills and knowledge I had built as a student teacher?

In mid-July I had a conversation with one of my coaches, Jeff Knight, about an opportunity that laid all of my career anxiety to rest. He told me that Rogue was starting an organization called Marathon High at Ann Richards and East Side Memorial in the fall of 2012. This program was aimed at preparing at-risk middle and high school students to run the Austin half-marathon and marathon in February 2013. The Rogue Athletic Club members would serve as the coaches and mentors for these young adults as they aimed at completing a daunting race.

I was elated with the chance to combine my two passions and to be able to begin to work in the Austin School District.

This week we began working with our athletes at Ann Richards. Over thirty girls have joined us and are beginning down the long road of marathon preparation. I cannot be more excited to develop a young running community over the next five months that is focused on having fun, being healthy, and accomplishing goals. I hope that I can help share running with my young athletes and, that running can have as positive of an effect on their lives as it has had on mine.

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