Arizona School for the Arts, a public school in downtown Phoenix, already fundraises over a million dollars A YEAR to supplement the inadequate state funding. Our cross country team is made up of 45 kids grades 5-12, and is the only sport the school currently offers. We picked cross country because it's the cheapest sport… but league fees, race fees, uniforms, food for hungry athletes after a 6am runs... it really adds up.
This fall, two weeks before state, I tore the LCL in my knee 75%. I have set a rehabilitation goal to run the full trail course of the “Pine Nine” (as I'm calling it; because I count my warm-up laps in my mileage? I think that’s fair...). My coaching philosophy doesn't allow me to project directions from the sidelines. If we are doing 3 minutes of squats, I'm in. Plank contest after a 5k? Just say go. Overcoming setbacks and injuries? It starts now. I had to be on crutches at their state tournament, and they have watched me progress from hobbling, to biking, to jogging along side them again over the last three months. Many of them missed races due to injuries over the years so want to lead by example.
I know it’s insane but I’m “making a run for it” - I’m hoping all of you might spare a Starbuck’s worth or sponsor me like a dollar a mile so I can help my kids. Anyone who has ever taught or coached before understands sentiment of “my kids.” Eating breakfast with them in the morning after practice is the highlight of my week. You have juniors in high school helping stuff fifth graders (and themselves) into lockers while sharing dozens of hard boiled eggs. It’s a beautiful thing. There is so much more to playing a sport than the physical challenge. It's an amazing opportunity all kids should have.
Lastly, if you read this far, I’m not just running the race, I’m aiming to win it. I need to pace 8:10 a mile based on last years results… it’s a tough mountain track at elevation, but I was gunning for it last year before a herniated disk prevented me from racing. I tried running 4.4 miles this week and paced 10:42. You can find me, Jamie Bellian, on Strava to follow my progress.
Thank you for considering!