Connecting the Dots to Boston

February 16th, 2015 | In Featured, Local Running News, Running Meets Life

by Boston Bound Bob

Swift-Cantrell Kilometer Kids group with elite athletes prior to the AJC Peachtree Road Race

Swift-Cantrell Kilometer Kids group with elite athletes prior to the AJC Peachtree Road Race

April 15th, 2013. Patriot’s Day. Marathon Day. Boston, MA. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya had just won the 117th running of the world’s most prestigious annual marathon. In the hours that followed, terrorists detonated two bombs close to the Boston Marathon finish line, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others. The horrific events of that day left many of us in the running community in a state of shock and disbelief. Stories of heroic efforts, requests for donations for the victims and their families, and local solidarity runs started appearing all over the social media-sphere.

I awoke the next morning and met a small group of runners at Big Peach Running Co. in Kennesaw for a “Mile Of Silence,” a group run/walk to support those affected by the events of the previous day. There, I met Cris Eaton-Welsh and her family. As the group set off, I remained at the back of the pack with Cris, chatting and encouraging her youngest daughter, Shelby.

Cris told me about a new running program for kids she had recently started in Kennesaw at Swift-Cantrell Park. It was part of the Atlanta Track Club’s Kilometer Kids program, and she needed more volunteer coaches. She invited me to become one. I had been volunteering with the Kilometer Kids program for some time, helping setup and tear down equipment and monitoring the kids as they run through Grant Park. But coach? Not something I had any professional experience doing.

I decided to give it a go by showing up at practice that same afternoon. Most of the kids were oblivious to the events of the previous day. We warmed up, played a variety of running games, goofed off, had fun, all without really realizing we were exercising. I was hooked! I had officially become a volunteer Kilomter Kids coach.

Since that Spring 2013 season, I’ve been part of a team of volunteers that has coached and proudly watched hundreds of 7 to 12* year old kids compete in and run their first 5K race. I’ve watched many of the same kids run the distance of a marathon over the course of an 11 week season. And they’ve got the hardware to prove it!

On July 2nd, 2014, many of our Swift-Cantrell Kilometer Kids received the opportunity of a lifetime when the Atlanta Track Club invited us to Piedmont Park to meet and run with elite athletes Ryan and Sara Hall, Carrie Tollefson, Christo Landry and Tyler McCandless. How cool is that?! It’s like a little leaguer being invited to Turner Field to play catch with Chipper Jones.

Then, on July 4th, 2014, our kids were given the opportunity to place medals around the necks of the winners of the Men’s and Women’s USA 10km Championships at the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race. One of our kids was thrilled when Aaron Braun, 4th place finisher, gave her his medal. And to top things off, several of our kids got to meet and chat with the 2014 Boston Marathon winner, Meb Keflezighi. Perhaps you’ve heard of him:)

Sprint forward to the 2015 Annual Social. One of the items up for auction…running the 2015 Boston Marathon in support of Kilometer Kids. After experiencing the positive impact the program is having on kids throughout our city and state, I couldn’t pass it up.

So, here I am, asking for your help. How? By making a tax deductible donation to Kilometer Kids and by spreading the word. If you have any question about where your money goes when you donate to Kilometer Kids, I invite you to do a couple of things.

First, watch the following Kilometer Kids video (it’s only 6 and 1/2 minutes, a respectable mile pace if you prefer to think along those lines): Atlanta Track Club Kilometer Kids

Second, come to one of our practices this Spring. Starting March 12th, we’ll meet at Swift-Cantrell Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Wear your running gear!

Let’s all make more of Alyssa’s dreams come true. Let’s help Jacobi continue to try his best and feel like he can do anything. Let’s help the Cade’s of Georgia continue to get straight A’s and have more epiphanies! And if I’m not making sense, you haven’t watched the video. Watch the video! Then donate. Please.

Thank you on behalf of Georgia’s youth, Kilometer Kids and the Atlanta Track Club.

All about the kids!
Boston Bound Bob
#KilometerKids #AtlantaTrackClub #BostonBoundBob

*Programming note. The Kilometer Kids program has been so well received that it was opened up to include 13 and 14 year old kids starting 2015.

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