Monday, April 8, 2013

Students on the GO!

Beginning in mid-January, as high school students were easing back into the second semester, a small group of UCHS students started running. Two miles at first and gradually working up to longer runs three days a week after school. After a few weeks, the running group from UCHS started meeting with students from eight other area high schools for long runs in Forest Park on Saturday mornings – eventually working up to an 11-mile Saturday morning run. These were Students on the Go! Students with a goal of completing the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.

Forest Park Visitor's Center - the Saturday
morning meeting place for long runs
Students on the GO! is a program designed to train high school students to run or walk (or a combination of both!) the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon each April. Students embark on a personal journey of self-discovery where they explore and experience the lifelong benefits of a comprehensive health and fitness program. At UCHS, teachers Carol Hackmeyer, Liza Harkins, and Brian Ashley coordinated, coached, and encouraged the student runners.

There were material incentives as well. As they progressed in their training, students were given running gear to benefit their running, including running shoes, running jacket, and a technical running shirt (for us non-runners that is a lightweight shirt that transfers moisture away from the skin to keep runners dry and comfortable). The program is provided at no cost by the GO! St. Louis organization.
In its second year, just over 200 students completed the Students on the GO! training – 15 were from UCHS. On the Friday evening before the big event, all of the metro area Students on the Go! and their families gathered at UCHS for a pasta dinner (great carbo loading) and some words of wisdom from some of the elite runners in town to compete for the $10,000 top prize for the half marathon. What a treat for the kids to meet Mattie Suver who went on to win the women’s half marathon title, setting a new course record with 1:12:22.
Students on the GO! hosted a pasta party at UCHS.
Mattie Suver is in the back in the red jacket.

Just as they were at the Saturday runs, on hand were Nancy Lieberman, president and founder of GO!St. Louis, which began in 2000, and Jesse Novotney, director of youth programs. Ben Rosario, co-founder of Big River Running stores and now with McMillan Running, provided the inspirational speech. The student runners then peppered the elite runners with questions on how to prepare for the race – questions like what to eat, when to go to bed, and how to tackle hills.

When the big day arrived the runners met at 5:30 a.m. to get their race bibs and catch the bus that would take them downtown. There they joined 15,000 other runners preparing to race through the streets of St. Louis.
15,000 runners cross the starting line.

The elite runners must have provided good advice as all the UCHS runners completed all 13.1 miles of the race. Some were a little sore, but all of them had bragging rights to their first half marathon.

Just some of the UCHS Students on the Go! after the race
with teacher-coaches Liz Harkins and Brian Ashley.


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations,what a great achievement! Any UCity High runners who would like to continue their training the cross country team will be happy to welcome you this fall!