Rising New York Road Runners: Meet the Coaches

Rising New York Road Runners: Meet the Coaches

‘Tis the season for healthy starts! New York Road Runners kicked off the 2017-18 school year with the launch of a new youth program and events platform known as Rising New York Road Runners. In the program, kids develop movement skills though a mix of running and fitness activities as well as built confidence, motivation, and a desire to be physically active for life.

It all starts with some seriously energetic and accomplished NYRR coaches, who train Rising New York Road Runners program leads in schools, after-school programs, and community centers nationwide.

To help you get to know some of the individuals who will be guiding the Rising New York Road Runners program leads at your child’s school or community center, we’d like to introduce you to Coach Stephanie and Coach Ivette.

MEET COACH STEPHANIE

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Stephanie Herrick began her running career one spring track season in high school. Previously, she had participated in soccer, softball, and basketball, but running struck a chord with her. Coach Stephanie continued to pursue her love of running as she progressed into college athletics, where she was designated an All-American athlete ten times and joined the prestigious Central Park Track Club. Since college, Coach Stephanie has specialized in running the 800m, competing in multiple USATF National Track & Field Championships as well as events all over the world, providing her a breadth of knowledge and experience in not just the running world, but the entire world of fitness and athletics.

What made you fall in love with running as a kid?
I played many sports as a kid, but my favorite part of practice would always be when we did conditioning workouts. I later learned this was not most people’s favorite part of sports practices and it inspired me to join track in high school. I also loved going to the local track event my town had every year. I loved the feeling I got from lining up on the track and getting to run down the straightaway as fast as I could.

What’s your favorite running memory?
In 2012, I was invited to a track meet in Guadeloupe. It was my first international track meet and it opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities running can bring. Not only did I get to travel to a beautiful island and compete among world-class athletes, but I also got to see the impact that this meet had on the entire community. It was such a big event for the island, and so many people came out to watch. The local youth track teams had their own races that happened right before ours, and the kids stayed and asked for photos and autographs. Then there was a big celebration with fireworks at the end of the meet. It was great to see the community come together and the children get inspired by the athletes at the meet.

What’s your favorite thing about coaching?
Watching athletes gain confidence in themselves and how that leads to greater enjoyment and achievement of their goals. 

What’s your best piece of advice for youth who are just starting to get into running?
Running is something you can love doing and do for your entire life. It takes time to get better at running, so take your time with it and stay positive.

The greatest thing about running is no matter who you are, or what level you are at, it feels good to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. It is a sport that rewards you with the hard work you are putting in.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017-18 school year?
I am looking forward to sharing all the new trainings we have been working on and helping coaches deliver fun and engaging sessions for their students.

MEET COACH IVETTE

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Ivette Mejia started her running career when she was in middle school as part of MS 117's Young Runners program. She never imagined that years later she would be breaking cross-country records at Saint Vincent College, becoming the first NCAA Division III All-American athlete at the school and winning the Presidential Athletic Conference Championship in cross-country twice. After college, Ivette found her home at Central Park Track Club, where she continues to run competitively while training for the 2020 Olympic trials. NYRR Youth Programs helped her find her passion for running; now she shares her expertise and that same passion with Rising New York Road Runners.

What made you fall in love with running as a kid?
My love for running started in middle school. My social studies teacher, Mr. Briceno, had just signed up the school for NYRR’s Young Runners program and as he began recruiting, he came over to me at recess. He said that I seem to enjoy chasing my friends and that I should try the running team. I gladly accepted and showed up to the first day of practice.

We did a time trial and I remember running the mile in a little over 10 minutes. I was the fastest girl and soon after the time trial, I was already curious about how I would get better. I wondered how the two boys that finish in front of me managed to do it. I was hooked on pushing myself. In this sport, the sky is the limit. 

What’s your favorite running memory?
At my first Nationals qualifier, I became an All-American. At the finish line, my coach was waiting for me with his arms wide open. We had done it! Our goal had been accomplished and the All-American was the cherry on top! It was a priceless memory to have competed at a national championship and become the first ever All-American athlete for Saint Vincent College. All my work and sacrifices had come together.

What’s your favorite thing about coaching? 
I really enjoy sharing my running story with youth because I started in a unique way. I ran on my own in high school and pretty much just landed on a college team because of the entry essay that I wrote. I wrote an essay using my running shoes as a metaphor for my life and my approach to new endeavors. I had no times to be recruited from for a college, but I really loved running and I found my way.

What’s your best piece of advice for youth who are just starting to get into running? 
Uncomfortable is good. It indicates great things are about to happen. Just keep holding on! 

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017-18 school year?
I am looking forward to sharing my story with program leads and athletes and helping others learn about the philosophies of physical literacy and long-term athlete development.

Learn more about Rising New York Road Runners and our free youth events taking place across the five boroughs of New York City.

Talia Rosen: “I’m Running This Marathon Because I Know How It Feels to Be Betrayed by My Own Body”

Talia Rosen: “I’m Running This Marathon Because I Know How It Feels to Be Betrayed by My Own Body”

Meb Marathon Moment Mondays: 2005

Meb Marathon Moment Mondays: 2005