Mile Matters with J&A Racing
Early this summer, we got an email from a Cross Country Coach in Western Massachusetts. She was looking to inspire her runners. Little did she know, she also inspired us that day. Introducing Theresa Apple…
I’m an RN, massage therapist, yoga teacher in addition to coaching cross country, and this background has influenced my coaching philosophy. My goal is to present running as one of the many ways that girls can enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. I want to have them visiting me in the retirement community, and telling me about the awesome physical things that they are doing—mountain climbing, running races, biking, kayaking
Thinking in that vein, I try to make running fun. I try to expose the girls to folks of all shapes, ages, and backgrounds who run, not just other high school competitive runners. I’ve gone with girls from the team to do the Big Sur Marathon Relay and we have done the Cape Cod Marathon relay race at the end of our season for 20 years now. I’ve also taken the girls that win the lottery to the Falmouth Road Race for 19 years. The town of Falmouth has been incredibly supportive of our team over the years and I cannot understate the influence the runners in that community have had on my team. Each time we go there we spend 3 days camping out at the homes of locals. We volunteer in some capacity, we do team bonding activities like paddle boarding, mini-golf, kayaking and running of course! When the slowest girl on the team finishes the Falmouth Road Race with a huge smile on her face because she’s NOWHERE near being last—well then, I’ve hit a home run!
It can be tough to get the girls to run over the summer. To that end I’ve tried different challenges. One year we figuratively ran across the US by tallying our weekly mileage and plotting it on a large online map. What route did we take? Why, Route 66 of course! Whatever town we “landed in” at the end of the week was the subject of some trivia questions. Correct answers earned a prize of some sort. At the end of the summer we all got t-shirts with our route printed on them and a Forrest Gump saying on the back. Twice now, we’ve done the Summer Marathon Challenge, where we have a sponsored marathon for the week. Girls who run 26.2 miles or more that week are entered into a drawing for swag goodies provided by the chosen marathon. Race Directors from around the world have contributed in these—from Athens, Greece to Antarctica, most of the world majors, and some downright quirky ones too!
We may not be the winningest team in the state, but I am proud to say that my program is strong in spirit, numbers, work ethic, and community. The girls have all learned to give back to their sport, and I’m gratified to see many of them still running years later. This past October I was standing at the starting line at the Cape Cod Marathon and heard my name being called. I turned and saw 2 young women who’d been on my team several years ago. They were doing their first marathon, and had chosen CCM because, “we knew we’d see you here!” That was one of my proudest moments and I’m happy to say I saw their families several times along the route, there to cheer them on, and was there to see them cross the finish line together.
That, my friends, was a perfect day!