Thursday, July 17, 2008


In the Arena athlete, Mike Hazle , makes USA Olympic Team

On behalf of the 8,000 young boys and girls we have already reached, I would like to congratulate all the “In the Arena” athletes for their inspiring performances as they attempted to earn an Olympic spot at the US Olympic Trials last month. Congratulations to Mike Hazle for making the US Olympic Team in the Javelin, a huge accomplishment and a well deserved honor.

Last week, I was scheduled to travel to Utica, New York for the Boilermaker, a 15km international road race that is well known for bringing some of the best athletes in the world and for having huge crowds that line up to cheer you on for the whole 9.3 mile course. Every year it amazes me how the whole community comes together on race day.This was my third year competing at the Boilermaker. I was excited to go back, have a great race, and meet up with many friends.

Just hours before I had to hit the road to catch up an airplane in Denver, CO (4 hour drive) I stopped by the Ortega Middle School here in Alamosa to spend some time with a group kids. Mi visit with these young enthusiastic kids turned out to be fun, pleasant and even a personal one. After I introduced myself and let them know all about my background, athletic career, and shared a few stories we moved on into comments or questions. Thank you guys for sharing some of your own personal goals, for wanting to know about what it takes to chase the dream of becoming an Olympian, and for all the tips, encouragement, and great deal of advice received. Believe it or not, these kids are smarter than one could ever think.

In the Arena with students from Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, CO.

I was very happy to leave the town knowing that back home was a group of kids possibly thinking and planning out their future and how they could make their immediate dreams come true. One of the stories I got to share with the group was about one of my early dreams.

“One of my very first dreams or fantasies (8 or 9 years old) was to run away from home and make my way to a big city, find a job.. Find a family that could adopt me, get an education, be successful and eventually take care of my mother.. I remmember my plan was to bring a few cans of tuna for the road and I would beg for money or ask for a job during my journey. Back then, these plans ended up being only plans. Yes, I never run away from home. Yet, now days I do find myself running away from home to big cities and other countries for competition. Yes, it took me nearly 20 years to do so, but I do it in a realistic way. Studying and working hard everyday at what I love doing, running, has allowed me to run away from home at least once a month. My point is that we can start making baby steps to our future now by dreaming of the type of life we want to live when we grow up. Always keeping our dreams and fantasies in our hearts and working toward them. Eventually, some of these dreams will become true”

After I was done speaking, we hanged out in the classroom, took pictures and I got to sign up autographs. As I was signing autographs I could hear some kids saying staff like: “Yes, I am telling you she is famous” or “ I will print a picture of her and post it in my room”. Many girls came up to me for a hug and promised me they would keep in contact. I did not have any ITA t-shirts in hand, but we made a deal. I encouraged the kids to write me a letter or e-mail letting me knows what size of t-shirt they would need and a return address, so that I could mail them an ITA shirt. Amory, I hope you do not mind.

As for the Boilermaker, please keep tune as I will be posting some pictures and sharing some cool stories soon!

Dream Big!