SportzEdge.com

Running club helps New Haven youth find a passion

William Thompson has been running the show at the New Haven age group track club for almost 40 years.

As a volunteer, every year he says it’ll be his last.

“I  love it.  I keep saying I’m gonna stop, I look around and they say, ‘You gonna come back coach Thompson?’ I say I’ll come back a couple days, then I come back and I’m stuck.”

Stuck working with some of the top young runners in the greater New Haven area.

Boys and girls of all ages have been running for Thompson since the late 1970′s, not only learning about running but learning about life.

“We’re all like a coach, a father, a mother,” said Thompson. “I think the kids really appreciate that because they know we care about them. It’s more than just being an athlete. We care about them as a person, we try to tell them things that will help them in life.”

“And apparently they like what they hear. They keep coming back,” said Kieran Haug of Seymour, who is in her second year of running.

“He pushes us hard, yeah, and but he’s a good coach.”

“At first I felt kind of nervous because there were so many people,” said Azaan Dawson.

Hillhouse track star Kellie Davis has been running with the club since she was 10 years old…

Now she’s heading to Indiana with a full scholarship. “It’s taught me a lot of things about life in general and now i’m successful,” she said.

Coach Thompson says his runners never complain, they work hard and really enjoy practicing together.

“My best enjoyment is once I see the kids come at 6, 7 years old and can’t do nothing, we teach them how to run then they end up going to grammar school, middle school , high school and then they go to college come back and I’m pleased,” said Thompson.

For more information and to find out how to join the team or donate, please visit www.newhavenagegrouptrack.org.