FIRST Junior Running Clinic for SCKLM 2016
This year, apart from the usual 12 Running Clinics, SCKLM had also organised 4 Junior Running Clinics for children from the ages of 6 to 15-year old at the Majlis Sukan Negara Setiawangsa Track. The experienced Running Coach and Geography Teacher, Mark Williams, had conducted all the running clinics for both Adults and Children, pointed-out, “We wanted to encourage the children to put down their iPads and get more active.”. Given the alarmingly high rate of obesity among Malaysian children, exposing them to a healthier lifestyle and more physical exercise will not go amiss.
Small Step But Big Move
Although, there were only around 20 young participants per training session, I felt that the introduction of these junior running clinics was a bold and important step taken by Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon owners, Dirigo Events. As Race Director Rainer Biemans puts it, “The purpose of the junior running clinics is to encourage children to take-up running as a hobby or sport, as well as to nurture the future athletes of Malaysia.”
Sports is a fantastic way to teach children so many of life’s important lessons. During the coaching sessions, the juniors were drilled on the technical and mental aspects of running, and by default, the children also learn and experience the importance of discipline, hard work and sportsmanship.
In Good Hands
Although there was no official media coverage for those junior running clinics, I was curious enough to request Dirigo Events to allow me to tag along to one of these sessions for a
first hand look at how the art of running is introduced to children.
To my surprise, the running drills and techniques taught to the youngsters were very similar to what a novice adult runner would have to undergo, only less vigorously. Furthermore, the methodology has been necessarily simplified to cater for the children’s level of physical and mental development.
Also, I noticed that Coach Mark’s mannerisms towards his students were not at all condescending nor strict, but rather, he made the children feel comfortable and motivated by praising them whenever possible, and explaining everything in a simple and fun way.
The children probably will not remember or apply every single thing that they were taught. However, I am sure that they would have learnt and picked up a few useful tips, and any improvement, big or small, is an important step forward to build a sound foundation for these future runners.
During the clinic, all the parents were very proud and supportive of the participating children. I even saw parent Mei Yee running and urging her son around the track.
Having spoken to Mei Yee later, I discovered that she is a very loving mother who sacrifice most of her time, driving her active son to school, tuition, and to his taekwondo and swimming classes.
As one proud father and Marathoner, Mr. Tan Chee Wee, remarked, “My boy really enjoyed the training sessions, and he has benefited from it because during our subsequent neighborhood runs, I noticed that my son is now landing on his front foot!”.
About The Author
Gus is the Founder of Running Toons and a HIIT Fitness Coach. As a sports writer, he has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia magazine, Cycling Malaysia magazine, Cycling Evolution magazine, Swim Bike Run magazine and more. LIKE Happy Runner and follow Gus Ghani @IG.