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GOTR Coaches Speak Out: “New Laces and Happy Faces”

April 22, 2010

Today’s Coaches Speak Out series features guest contributor Cathleen Balantic, coach at Parkside Elementary in Atlanta. Have you missed Cathleen’s posts?

We’ve probably all observed some interesting preferences with regard to running shoe choice. I’m thinking of the guy who shows up to my favorite annual summer road race (a free 11.6-miler in coastal Connecticut) and proceeds to pound out the entire event in BARE FEET. Intense! (Really though, if you ever find yourself in New England in early August, I strongly recommend checking out this race).  

We don’t have any Parkside Girls on the Run subscribing to the barefoot training ideology yet, but suffice it to say that at our first few practices, many of the girls showed up unsuitably shod for the task at hand. One young lady even sported pristine white tights and freshly-shined Mary Janes (but she cruised through the workout like a champ. In fact, for this, we gave her the “Muddy Feet” Energy Award. By the end of practice, those gleaming Mary Janes were caked in a thick icing of grime, and the excellent mud-splotches on her formerly white tights might have landed her a gig in costume design for 101 Dalmatians: The Musical).  

When it came to questionable running shoe choices, however, our Muddy Feet superstar in her bright Mary Janes was the rule rather than the exception. We had girls trotting in everything from flimsy ballet flats to mini-Uggs to flashy gold-sequined Converse All Stars. 

Can you imagine running two miles in shoes like these? Somehow our team of elementary-aged supergirls managed it all the time.  

However, at a practice earlier this week (which I unfortunately had to miss L), all of that changed… 

That’s right: at Parkside Girls on the Run, there will be no more blisterfest ballet flats, no more stifling mini-Uggs, no more arch-smashing All-Stars…  

Phidippides and New Balance to the rescue!

A few days ago, the running rockstars behind these smiles came out to Parkside and did shoe fittings for our team. I was very bummed that I couldn’t be there to share in the excitement, but the other coaches passed along pictures from the special day and kept emphasizing how ecstatic the girls are to each have an outstanding new pair of REAL running shoes to train in.

Try these on for size: A few Parkside superstars get shoe-fit advice from the experts.

Shoe distribution time!

Miles of smiles ahead! There is nothing quite like lacing up a fresh pair of trainers.

These feet are ready for May 1st. (GOTR 5K is on May 1st)

What a happy crowd: The Parkside GOTR team with coaches, fans, and the SUPERSTARS who brought us new shoes.  

A thousand thanks from the Parkside team to Girls on the Run, Phidippides, and New Balance!


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