Visit to The Equalizers Track Club

This week I was invited by Coach Jerry Palazzo to visit his club’s practice at Foothill High School in Tustin. The Equalizers are one of the top junior track clubs in the nation, and I was eager to see what their practice was like. The club had first come to my attention when one of their members, 10 year old Constantine Yap, ran a 3:03:40 at the LA Marathon. Then last weekend I watched 12 year old Hannah Stemper run in the Elite Field at the Coaster Run. She finished with an extraordinary 18:50 time in the 5K. I was certainly intrigued.

Coach Jerry, along with assistants Marty and Richard, have built up a huge and enthusiastic group of runners from age 6 to 14. Some travel from as far away as San Clemente and Monterey Park to run 4 days a week. There was a sense of enthusiasm, commitment and passion evident in both the kids and the coaching. Separate groups stretched, did core strength workouts and then attacked repeat 1000s. It was truly inspiring to watch these kids having fun as they learned some of the lessons that endurance sports teach so well: goal setting, perseverance and overcoming adversity.

While a few of their kids, like Constantine and Miguel Bautista (13 year old who runs a 4:37 mile), are currently ranked number one in the nation, more exciting to me was the camaraderie and team spirit that was on display throughout the session. Thanks to all of the Equalizers coaches, parents and kids for a memorable evening.


SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015