Run for BHS, run for life
February 26, 2014
Brandon Twp.- The polar vortex returned for a repeat performance this week, but spring is right around the corner, and with it, runners will soon return to the roads.
Track season begins March 10 for runners, and the boys varsity track team will have a new head coach.
Steve Hendershott, who has coached track at the middle school (where he also teaches) for more than 20 years, is taking over track duties at the high school.
After being frustrated during the past 10 years as he watched numerous coaches come and go after Gary Medland retired, Hendershott is excited to get the program back on track.
"I want to be able to recoup more athletes, get basketball and football players involved, and soccer players," he said. "Brandon has a limited number of true athletes, but a lot of potential athletes out there."
One of the strengths at the middle school level was the number of athletes. During the past decade, Hendershott has seen 160 boys and girls on average participate in track yearly in middle school, but over the last six to eight years, while girls continue to participate in high numbers in varsity track, coached by Greg Hyde, only about 30-45 boys are participating at the high school level. He hopes to raise that number to 60 this year and continue growing the program. Hendershott plans to talk to students about joining track whereever and whenever he can— in the hallways, in the weight room, and at practices.
"Running makes athletes faster and stronger," he said. "I will encourage new students— get better at running, fitter, healthier and enjoy a lifetime of running. It's not just a sports season, it's a lifetime event... The great thing about running is you don't have to be athletic, you just need to want to try and improve. You don't have to worry about beating anyone except your own stopwatch. By improving yourself, you will be better."
No try-outs are required for track, everyone who wants to join can, and there are a variety of events to choose to participate in, including discus, shotput, high jump, long jump, pole vault, and, of course, running— with distances ranging from the 100-meter dash to the 3,200-meter run (2 miles).
Hendershott and Assistant Boys Track Coach Erik Donders will run practices that won't look the same everyday. Depending on the event athletes have chosen, their workouts will vary.
Besides taking on coaching responsibilities for the boys varsity track team, Hendershott is also busy planning for the Creekfest Run he organizes every year, adding a half-marathon to the 5K, 10K, and Minnow Mile already planned for June 21. The Minnow Mile will start at 8:30 a.m., followed by the half-marathon at 9 a.m., then the 5K and 10K at 9:15 a.m. All races start and end at the Old Town Hall in the village, with an out and back course on Hummer Lake Road, with gently rolling hills.
Hendershott added the half-marathon after a good deal of interest was expressed by area runners.
"There has been interest in the community in going longer and preparing for the Free Press Marathon in October and this is a way to help motivate and keep them on the path to the marathon," he said. "Running is a way to stay healthy, happy, and whole."
Cost to run the half-marathon is $30 before June 30; 10K and 5K is $25. Details: 248-467-1739 or 248-627-1872.