Inspiring Coaches Finalist Wayne Roberts

Sandusky High School - Sandusky, MI

Number of years coaching: 35 years coaching both Cross Country and Track

At a glance: Coach Wayne Roberts was once retired, but without his leadership the cross country program at Sandusky High School was discontinued. Intent on having a cross country program again, a persistent student convinced Coach Roberts to make his return to the sport. Since returning in 2010, he has built the team back up from 2 runners to 30 high school and junior high athletes and won the girl’s league title in 2012. Coach Roberts is known to promote camaraderie and loyalties as well a love for the life and body you have been given. He stays effective by practicing what he preaches and staying involved with his team on and off the track.


What piece of advice does Coach Roberts give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I simply say, you cannot always have a good day. Throw this performance out the window and forget about it. Tomorrow is a new day and we will start over.

What makes Coach Roberts Run Happy?
I have been running happy for 46 years. It all came about when I had the most interesting class as a college freshman. This class changed my life for the best. The class was all about developing cardiovascular fitness, which at the time I had NONE! I had high blood pressure 140/110 and very little endurance. I was overweight, inactive and a smoker. To make matters worse, my family history was full of strokes and heart attacks. I figured I would be dead by the time I was 40. So I got to work and started to what I ate and started to jog. It was a real struggle when I first started. So I decided I should quit smoking and this was the best thing I ever did. Now, I should mention that aI planned on being a physical education instructor and coach, thus I felt I should be a much better example to my students. As time passed, I was losing pounds and getting stronger every day. I was feeling more positive about myself. This only pushed me to work harder and continue what I was doing. One year later, I had lost 60 pounds and was turning in a running nut. So I decided to introduce this information to my students by beginning each class with a 6 minute run as a warm up. We monitored blood pressure and heart rates each semester so they could see the improvement of their cardiovascular fitness. We also weighed all students, so they could keep track of any changes. Thus the 12 minute running test was used to determine fitness grade.

So after many years of running and feeling great I decided to see how many days I could run without missing a day. I got a runners log and recorded each day that I had to run. Soon I had 5 months without a miss. I kept at it and the days, months and years went by. I did not even realize what an impact my running streak was making on my athletes. As times went by, I found myself running 40 plus miles per week and loving every minute of my exercise time. Well to make a long story short, my running streak is now at 32 years, 6 months and 14 days, as of July 16, 2012. I go out every day and look forward to the time of the day I enjoy the utmost. My total mileage at present time is 67,092.7 miles in 11,987 days. That is an average of 5.6 miles a day.

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