76. Rake the pit.

Running tip #76 … give back to the sport.

Last night while enjoying a Carolina spring evening brew on the outdoor patio of Steel String, the head coach of our local youth running club, Harold Hill, stopped by our table on his way to meet the little, middle, greyhound, and big dog coaches of the CC Pacers.  I noticed Harold was uncharacteristically jumpy, so I asked, “Are you nervous?” and he joked, “Terrified!” because the usual cadre of  (over)invested parents were missing from this year’s administrative team.  Of course Harold can handle anything … using the wisdom shown in his Haroldisms … but not without a little help from his friends.  Right on cue, the big dog Pacer coach walked over to smilingly join the conversation which, in turn, caused Harold’s shoulders to visibly relax and his eyes to resume their twinkling.

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You see, Hillary Clinton is correct … it takes a village to raise a child.  And it takes a very committed “village” to keep the sport of track & field thriving in any community.  I have been blessed my whole running life to be a part of such communities, so in old age (I’m not there quite yet) my plan, nay my dream, is to rake the pit as a USA track-and-field official.  I figure I’ve lived every other aspect of this beautiful sport … from elementary school 600-yard president’s patch tests, through high school, college, and professional racing, to coaching/speaking/board of director-ing every age and talent level of kid or grown-up that ever laced up a pair of running shoes.  SO, what’s left?!  Raking the pit, that’s what.  I want to join the proud line-up of USA Track & Field officials that keep the heart of our sport beating.

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Not surprisingly, Harold’s Januarism #17  is “Volunteer for the heart of a community.”

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