MICK'S KIDS National 4x800m USATF JO Champs

Phil Shaw, Mike Grant, Harry Norton, Tim Galebach, Russell Brown, Will Seidel at Supper Time Material contributed by Giles Norton and Mick Grant, Photos by Giles Norton

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KidsRunning.Com is possibly the most popular kids' running Web site in the world today. Part of its appeal comes from the wide variety and type of kid runners whom we welcome and advise. This variety includes: age (from 2 to teens), gender (male and female), and goals (from simple participation in running, as a fitness or a fun activity, to going for a national win). To continue to bring the world of kids' running together, we need a range of experience and interest in our 'advice' contributors. Coach Mick has worked with kidsrunning.com for over two years, writing many letters to advise kids. Here's a little inside view of Mick's expertise, that of coaching a youth track team to a national win.

THE WIN The Lynx Elite Athletics Club had a wonderful showing at the United States Junior Olympics National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska this week end. The Haverhill-based Lynx team took seven athletes, coached by Mick Grant to the National Championships.

The Young Men's 4 x 800 meter relay quartet are National Champions for the second consecutive year with a winning time of 7:49.82 The team is comprised of Harry Norton from North Reading, MA, Will Seidel from Newbury, NH, Mike Grant of Haverhill, MA, and Russell Brown of Hanover, NH.

Also medalling was Phil Shaw of Andover who took sixth place in the Young Men's 5k run with a great time of 16:11.69 - a race that was led by a margin of almost 30 seconds to within 40 yards of the finish line by Tim Galebach until he collapsed from exhaustion and was unable to finish. (Note: the temperatures rose so high that the track surface melted in places!!!)

Katie Dlesk of Andover, who entered the National Championships seeded 34th, ran a fine 57.69 to finish 14th in the 400 meters.

MICK AS A COACH The philosophy at Lynx Elite Athletics is team work and gradual improvement. In our program, we work on developing speed and mechanics while staying true to strength development over time. It is a long term development plan and requires patience and committment from athletes. We would rather stick with the long-term plan than over-train for a short term gain.

I am very proud of my athletes and am fortunate to have had them for such a long time. Our highest profile members are Chantelle Dron (4:30/1500m, 6th at USATF Junior Nationals) and the 4 x 800m relay team of Harry Norton, Will Seidel, Mike Grant, Russell Brown (1st at USATF Junior Olympics two years in a row). The 4 x 800m team has won three major championship races since 1999. I am very proud of every member of the team and am honored to have had the opportunity to work with each of them.

MICK AS A DAD

As the father of Michael Grant, I am very careful. Track is around us nearly 24 hours a day, so we try to separate track from home. Michael is a very hard worker and really loves his team. The kids have become very close friends over the years, and that is very important; they are always there for each other. It is more important to me that Mike has fun with his running than how many miles he runs. I never want the fun to go out of his running. That isn't to say that he shouldn't race at the highest level; pushing the limits of one's ability IS fun! (Tim The Edge Galebach may differ on that. lol)

There is a team in Georgia called New Horizon and they also have a boy named Michael Grant. The two Michaels have been at many of the same competitions since they were 10 years old and both are National Record holders! I spent some time with Michael of New Horizon at JO's last weekend in Omaha and we had a lot of fun talking about all the meets they were both at. He told me that he has been nursing some hamstring injuries this year but was feeling better. They have some amazing sprinters on their team, including Michael.