By Rubin E. Grant
Tate Record wanted to have a summer job, but he wasn’t interested in working every day. Plus, he wanted to have some fun while working.
So, the rising senior on the Mountain Brook cross-country team figured he would combine his love of running with making some money.
With assistance from a few other rising seniors on the Spartans’ cross-country team, Record decided they would invest their time and entrepreneurial skills sharing their passion for running with children in the community.
During June and July, they have led practices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Crestline, Cherokee Bend and Mountain Brook elementary schools.
“It was a great way for us to make a little money doing what we love,” Record said. “We also saw it as an opportunity to inspire the next generation of Mountain Brook runners.
“It’s been really fun. Plus, I like hanging out with little kids. We run and play games.”
Participants were charged a summer rate of $175 or $10 per practice. Record said they have had 10-15 runners in the program and five children who have shown up at every practice. They range from sixth graders to younger students.
“We’ve built good relationships with the kids,” Record said. “For some of them it’s their first time running. Now, they actually want to run.”
Record counts his younger sister Mimi among those who have taken to running.
“She’s probably one of the laziest kids you’ll ever meet,” Record said with a laugh, “but she has been running with us all summer. She comes and asks me, ‘Do we get to run today?’”
Jessica Brouilette, one of the other rising seniors, said that’s what they were hoping.
“Our main goal has always been that the kids enjoy running, regardless of their ability,” Brouilette said. “Some of them could run a 5K the first week, and others are still working toward a mile, but all of them have great attitudes and even better senses of humor, which are how good runners become great.”
The group does “fun runs” at Lower Crestline, Jemison Trail and even in the Botanical Gardens, but Record said the children’s favorite days are their workouts on Cherokee Bend’s track.
“The kids love them because they feel like real track runners,” he said, “but us seniors probably enjoy the workouts more because we just sit on the sidelines and cheer them on.”
The program ends Aug. 2. For Record, it has been a blast.
“I am really surprised and thrilled that so many of these kids now enjoy running,” he said. “Our approach is for it to be fun. My dad has always told me the No. 1 thing is to have fun above all else and the rest will come.”
“The actual activity of running is difficult for everyone. But the kids have come to love the sport like we did because of people who encouraged them to be their best. The almost daily popsicle bribes have helped, too,” he added jokingly.