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Track and field, cross country is becoming more popular

As a USATF Level 1 certified coach, I love seeing the increase in interest for track and field and cross country. For a long time, we have had a swim team at our JF Hurley Family YMCA, which over the years has produced many swim scholars and smart kids.
This is our second season for the Hurley YMCA Warriors, and we have more than doubled this year. Being in the fitness industry for almost 31 years, I have seen many things come and go, but one thing I have had a hard time with is getting children to become more active on a long-term basis.
With Salisbury Pediatrics and the health department, we have tried all kinds of programs to steer children (and their parents) on a healthy lifestyle. We were successful, but not to the level I thought we should be. RACY, our swim team, has been successful getting families involved in a healthy lifestyle. Since my passion is track and field, we thought we would try it at the Y.
I have been amazed by the dedication of the children and the parents towards this program. I have seen children who have struggled in school become honor roll students and children who just didn’t fit in the mainstream sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, football, etc. excel in track and field. Parents who used to sit and watch are now walking around the track or doing a workout while we are practicing.
I am excited to see that. We have a wonderful relationship with Livingstone College where we practice on their track and field. And for cross country, we practice at the beautiful Salisbury Community Park. If your child has not found his or her niche yet, maybe track and field is something to try. We are offering a Track and Field Camp this week at the JF Hurley Family YMCA, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., we will work on track and field events such as sprints, half mile, long jump, shotput and turbo javelin. From 11 a.m. to noon, we will have the splash pad, swimming pool or indoor climbing wall.
On Friday, we will have a mini track meet where all the kids will do all events.
Our cross country practice will start on Aug. 26. Many high school coaches are excited we have this program since the middle schools in Rowan County do not have cross country. Again, anything to get your children active and involved on a long-term basis.
If you have any questions, please email me at emarsh@rowanymca.org or call 704-636-0111, ext. 212
I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July — I did!
Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt

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