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It’s all about the track athlete

To our readers,

As you are reading this, 12 of the JF Hurley Family YMCA Warriors track members are competing at the Junior Olympics at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The Junior Olympics will run through Saturday.

I was going to write about what it takes to be a track athlete but one of our parents, Rebekah Julian, an avid runner herself who still holds running records at East Rowan High School, “wrote” this poem first in her head while running and later on paper.

I could not say it better myself.

Rebekah Julian is one of the Hurley YMCA coaches and the co-owner of Lazy 5 Vet and the mother of three Warriors — Noah, Eli, and Hope — two of whom are competing in Des Moines. Another daughter, who is 4, loves to run and is on her way to the Junior Olympics when she is a bit older.


It’s not about pool parties and summer laziness…

It’s about hard, grueling workouts in the hot, humid sun when the air is too thick to breathe,

It’s not about 2 months of practice and easy results for greatness…

It’s about 5 months of commitment to pushing your body to maximum performance,

It’s not just about practice to perfection…

It’s about practice till exhaustion of the body and mind,

It’s not about choosing the most popular sport and getting lots of publicity…

It’s about choosing a sport that you can enjoy your entire life and the rewards are running “highs,”

It’s not about a mediocre performance because your teammate will make up for the bad day…

It’s about you being responsible for your performance and finishing till the end,

It’s not about quitting in the middle of the race when you know you are off your PR time…

It’s about “embracing the suck” and finishing the race with determination and effort,

It’s not about weekend sleepovers, drinking sodas and eating candy…

It’s about good night sleeps, eating carbs and drinking lots of water,

It’s not about choosing to have an easy race with guaranteed results…

It’s about strategy at the start, middle and end of the race when each one hundredth of a second counts,

It’s not about taking a water break in the middle of the game to catch your breath…

It’s about taking a deep breath on that 5th lap of the 3,000 meter or 3rd lap of the 1,500 meter and mind over body,

It’s not about running easy practices and minimal effort…

It’s about running through those cramps, growing pains and muscle soreness to get it done,

It’s not about doing 2 laps/800 meter because anyone can run that…

It’s about going 100 percent the entire race and using every muscle to its maximum capability,

It’s not about just a straightaway till the finish…

It’s about your mind taking over your body to push over that “brick wall” to the finish,

It’s not about pleasing your parents, teammates, family or friends…

It’s about knowing that you put the effort into practice and races for that “PR,”

It’s not about all the medals or ribbons you collect as they will be in boxes someday…

It’s about building character, confidence, determination and sportsmanship,

It’s not about just making friends and having good times…

It’s about going through pain, sweat, tears, running lows and highs for memories and experiences that carry through life…

It’s all about being a track athlete! Be proud for you are doing something great!

* For all those kids that gave up their summer and dedication to run year round, it does and will pay off for life!

— Rebekah Julian

Ester H. Marsh is associate executive and health and fitness director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA in Salisbury.


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