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Marsh column: Making a run at track

Q. My son loves to run but he is only 8. Is there a youth track and field club here in Salisbury?
A. This was actually my own question, which I asked a dear friend, Heather Stout, who is a track and field coach at Sacred Heart Catholic School. She told me there is a group that trains after Sacred Heart is done working out at the Salisbury High School Track.
She got the coach’s name and phone number. He is Tim Dunlap, and he is the coach for Salisbury Speedsters Track and Field Club.
My husband and I were ecstatic to find a track and field club in Salisbury.
(We knew there were youth clubs in Charlotte.)
My son, Andrew, loves to run. He was walking by nine months and running by 10 months! He was able to join this club just three weeks ago since he is very conditioned óas a son of a trainer, he’d better be!
He LOVES it. He is being pushed but also nurtured. Practicing three times a week for one hour really helps his ADHD. Relieving all that energy is a must after a day at school.
Their season starts with conditioning in March and runs throughout the summer. If you are interested in having your child be part of this great club, call Tim Dunlap at 704-754-2595 so he can let you know about the next season, starting March of 2010.
We had our first track meet April 25. My son will be 9 in July but runs with the 9- and 10-year-olds due to the year he was born (2000). His events are the 400m and 800m.
Eight hundred participants were registered for this event and more than 700 kids were there. My husband and I had no clue how big track and field is for youth. We go to AAU and USATF sanctioned meets.
In this day and time, lots of kids are sitting behind a computer or TV or video game. They might not be your typical basketball players/ football and soccer players.
What I found so great in my first youth track meet was that there were so many different levels of talent. And when there was a child running quite a bit behind, the emcee would encourage this child and before you knew it everyone was clapping for this child when he or she was on the homestretch and finishing. And guess what? There was a big smile on that child’s face ó it didn’t matter he or she was last!
Andrew was also running the 200 meter. It was his first event and he ended up second in his heat and 33rd overall.
We took six children from Salisbury Speedsters to this event of 700-plus athletes and walked away with four medals!
The coach decided to take Andrew out of the 400m since the 400 and 800m were right after each other.
When Andrew started the 800m he was so nervous and he looked so small in this field of 9- and 10-year-olds. He took off and started a great run and was passing lots of kids. Two big kids were heading the field. Andrew had a good pace going and he ended up close behind them after about 300m (still 500m to go).
Andrew starts sprinting past the two in the front! I am talking sprinting! I am yelling, “Slow down!” Kevin, who is at the curve tells him to slow down. Coach Tim on the infield tells him to slow down. He did and was passed by the two big kids. He was still in third position when he passed the starting line (with 400m to go). I thought he was going to fall back because he had used so much energy. He held his own and finished third! His first meet and he got bronze!
Can’t wait for the next track meet (which when you read this has happened on May 2). Bantams are 9- and 10-year-olds. Midgets are 11- and 12-year-olds.
Other Salisbury Speedsters results: Payton Russell, Bantam girls, first in 200m and third in 400m. Jalessa Smoot, Midget girls, first in 400m and fourth in 200m. Andrea Godfrey, Bantam girls, fourth in 200m and eighth in 400m. Cameron Dunlap, Midget boys, 12th in 200m and 13th in 400m. Eric Henderson Midget boys, 46th in 200m and 38th in 400m.
Right now your school track season is still going on (not for long). Support your schools and attend a meet. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Contact Ester Marsh at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca.com.

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