Dec. 9, 2015
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University track & field / cross country program, encompassing six varsity teams on the Hilltop, worked with Teens Run DC and participated in the Jingle All the Way 5K last weekend. More than 30 members of both the men's and women's cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field teams participated in the event, held last Sunday in the District.
Just two weeks after both of the cross country teams competed at the 2015 NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky., the teams came together to work with the mentors of Teens Run DC, an organization that promotes physical, social and emotion well-being of underserved youth through a mentoring and distance running program.
Teens Run DC pairs each participant with a mentor, fostering longtime relationships that involve running with the participants on race days. The more than 30 Georgetown student-athletes ran with the participants and mentors or served as part of the cheer squad at the race.
"We met up with mentors and volunteers of Teens Run DC and the kids who participate in the program ahead of time," All-American Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) said of the experience. "We did their warm-up with them, chatted with the kids and ran the race with the kids and their mentors."
While the teams have participated in past community service events, this particular endeavor hit a little closer to home for the Hoyas.
"This is the first time that we have done something that is more geared toward running," Coogan continued. "We're all so passionate about running, so to use that to relate to and get to know these kids, was really cool for us.
"This is the first time we have actually been able to meet the people we are trying to help. In the past, we have done stuff but this time we got to meet and run with the kids, something we love to do, and hopefully they like it too, so it gave us an immediate connection."
While many across the globe are in an especially jolly mood with the holiday season upon us, Georgetown students are in the midst of the transition from the end of classes and the beginning of finals looming over their heads. Additionally, the members of the track & field team opened the indoor season just last week, a mere 10 days after the culmination of the cross country season.
"Spending time with these kids really put things in perspective," Coogan explained. "It's easy to get stuck in the grind here of finals, running and all of these stressors. It's nice to go outside of the Georgetown bubble and do something different. I really hope that we helped them, but I definitely know that those kids helped us a lot too -- just by giving us a day of fun and helping us keep things in perspective."
The women's team will return to competition on January 9, 2016 with the Father Diamond Invitational, hosted by George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The men's team next hits the track on Saturday, January 16 at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge in State College, Pa.