Mile News

Coach’s Mile challenge attracts runners of all ages during quarantine

April 15, 2020

"They've been robbed of opportunities. This is a little carrot to get them out there."

By Nancy Haggerty, Rockland / Westchester Journal News

Gilby Hawkins had an idea.

With high school spring sports on hold and potentially canceled and runners at home, he wanted to give his Pearl River track & field athletes a little incentive as they trained.

He decided to issue a challenge: Run a Mile and time yourself. His runners would then text him their information.

But, before putting it out, Hawkins thought, "I bet (Tappan Zee coach) Pat Driscoll will want to get in on it."

"He loved it," Hawkins recalled. "He said, 'I bet (Suffern coach) Jeff Dempsey would really like it.' "

Then Pearl River girls coach Shannon Flood thought of Clarkstown South's Pete Modafferi.

And so on and so on.

The "so on" led to results Hawkins couldn't imagine. That led to plans for more weekly challenges.

One-hundred thirty-five people reported back to Hawkins that they'd run a Mile. And these were not just high school kids.

The runners included one 9-year old (Dempsey's daughter, Caitlin) and one 78-year-old, (long-retired Clarkstown South coach Art "Doc" Lebofsky), as well plenty of people of all ages in between, including coaches.

Some simply told Hawkins they ran.

Others gave him a time — Caitlin and her brother Andrew, 12, both ran 7:04. Lebofsky clocked in at 12:56.

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Tags: health (10)

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Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

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