Sharlene has been coaching with GOTR-STL for more than five years. She has just transitioned to Head Coach of a Girls on Track team at Bryan Middle School in the Francis Howell. Before leading the team at Bryan Middle she coached a Girls on the Run team at Independence Elementary, even serving as head coach and site liaison last fall after her daughter left graduated from the school!
Sharlene has been married to Mike for almost 23 years and has two children, Zack (age 17) and Tess (age 11). She is grateful for all of their support as she continues volunteering with GOTR-STL. She credits their support and a push from Tess when she was ending second grade to get this program going for her school!
Read what else Sharlene had to say in her own words …
How did you first hear about Girls on the Run?
I was in Knoxville, TN for a half-marathon I was running. My daughter, Tess, and I were at packet pick-up and saw a booth for the local GOTR council. After talking with the coaches, we were both interested in learning more and she was determined she wanted to join. She was only in second grade at the time.
Why did you decide to be a coach?
After learning about the program and seeing how much my daughter wanted to be a part of GOTR, I checked to see if this program was offered at her school. Once I found out it did not, I contacted the GOTR-STL office to see how to get one started. They put me in contact with a wonderful coach in St. Charles and I was able to ask her tons of questions. It was when I attended one of her practices that I knew I would love to be a coach. I watched her girls run, jump and laugh together. The most inspiring was when one little girl started to cry because she wanted to give an opinion on a group activity and she did not think anyone was listening. Very shortly after that, the girls stopped, came together and made a decision to listen. It was beautiful to see these young girls and their coaches interact in such a positive way! I also love the fact that running is something anyone can do. It simply does not matter how young or old, short or tall, fast or slow you are. You can still get out there and set a goal for yourself and win. You just have to remember the only person you are competing against is yourself. Do the best YOU can do.
Is there anything you would like to share about Girls on Track? Any differences between coaching the different age groups/challenges/joys/etc. you would like to share?
Girls on Track has been a completely new experience. The dynamic of the group is just different simply due to the age difference. The older girls are not as shy at the first practice, are more to the point on questions and answers, understand a bit more about each person taking turns to talk and are more accustomed to exercise from their daily PE classes. However, they are a lot more shy when it comes to getting wild and crazy with the energy awards (we are still in the early weeks though so I am sure this will change)! Girls on the Run kids were adorable but took a little more time to quiet down before practice. After they got comfortable with the group and coaches, one question could take you down the path of what they ate for breakfast to how their dog was doing if you were not quick to redirect! Both groups have been a blessing to work with and I can’t wait to watch my Girls on Track cross the finish line this May!
Tell us a little bit about serving as a breakout leader at new coaches training in January…
I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the coaches training this winter. The sessions are always a lot of fun. This one started out with sassy, classy Renee and her colorful outfit, how could we not have a blast! I enjoyed meeting the numerous new coaches and answering questions about what has worked and not worked for me and my group of coaches over five seasons that I have been with GOTR. It was a lot of fun to see the excitement in the eyes of the new coaches and hear their enthusiasm as they listened to program details. Also, being able to introduce our wonderful Alien Mascot was a hoot!
Any favorite memories or stories about GOTR that you would like to share?
My favorite GOTR story…here goes…It was my first season coaching and I am bad with names. We were on our lesson about how to express our feelings when someone does something we don’t like. The “I Feel, When You, Because, I would like for you to” lesson. After the coaches gave a few examples, one little girl volunteered to go first. She looked at me and said “I feel sad, when you forget my name, because I want you to know my name, I would like for you to remember my name!” Oh boy..she was laughing as she went through it but…I will never forget it, nor did I call her the wrong name the rest of the season!
Anything else you would like to share about yourself (family, employment, running accomplishments, hopes/dreams)?
I have been running for almost 10 years myself and believe that it is a great way to stay healthy in both mind and spirit. I have finished several half marathons, a few marathons and a few ultra marathons. The pride in setting goals, no matter how big or small and then accomplishing them is rewarding. The pride in watching a group of girls you coached who did not think they could run one lap let alone 3.1 miles is priceless!