Coach Practices What He Preaches

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Coach Practices What He Preaches

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Mar 17, 2005 12:24 pm

Coach practices what he preaches
By Fred Fehr
SNS Sports Editor

Shawnee track coach Forrest Simpson is an avid runner, compiling about 50 miles a week. Simpson competes in numerous road races and continues to challenge himself as well as his tracksters.
When Forrest Simpson tells his Shawnee track members to step up their running workouts, they would be wise to listen.

Because when it comes to running, the man barking out the orders practices what he preaches.

Running Fever didn't infect Simpson until he was 38. The bathroom scale was becoming a tad bit of a personal enemy, and Simpson also needed an outlet for his competitive nature.

So Simpson started running with a group of adults -- in the wee hours of the morning -- before launching his day as an Edmond Middle School teacher and coach.

For the next six years, Simpson was steadfast in his five-mile-a-day habit -- then he kicked into a higher gear.

"The last two or three years, I have run a little more, about 50 miles a week," he said.

After entering his first road race in 1996 at Hafer Park in Edmond, Simpson has maintained a consistently high competitive pace. For the last nine years, he has averaged eight or nine road races a year.

Included in his road race resume´ are three marathons -- including Wichita experiences in 1997 and 1999.

But it was at Florida's Disney Marathon in January that Simpson surprised himself. Competing in the 45-49 age group, a division with more than 200 entrants, Simpson covered the 26.2 mile event in 3:04.35. That was not only the fourth-best time in his division but it was the 53rd-best time overall -- a sparkling feat considering there were more than 11,000 runners (men and women).

"I didn't think I could place that high, but I thought I could run that time," Simpson said. "I thought with that many runners, a lot more people would have been faster.

"There was no prize money offered, and that keeps a lot of the top masters runners out of the competition. So you have to keep it in perspective."

Simpson's humility aside, there are few athletic endeavors that come close to requiring the stamina and grit of a marathon.

"In Florida, I was at my goal-mile pace until about mile 20," Simpson said. "Then I started getting slower and slower. For me, it's just hard to make your body go at that point. You reach the point when you don't want to take more steps, but you have to."

The SHS track and cross country squads have been a reflection of Simpson's competitive spirit. In his first year (1999) at the cross country helm, the Wolves had just one state qualifier in Paul Wright. The 2000 squad improved to an eighth-place finish, and the cross country program exploded with state championships in 2001 and 2002. The last two cross country editions have finished third and fifth, respectively, at the state meet.

And after logging regional championships in 2002 and 2003, last year's SHS track squad was the state runner-up to Altus at the Class 5A meet.

As for Shawnee's state hopes this spring, Simpson is very optimistic. "I think we can be in the top three in our class, and we have a chance to win it all," he said.

"One thing we have that sets us apart from other schools is that we have some people that can really coach the specialty events, like Scott Wilkinson in the pole vault and Mark Betterton with the hurdlers and sprinters. Not many schools have coaches that are that skilled with their events."

When Simpson enlarged his running realm nine years ago, he had no idea that he would become so dedicated.

"I run early in the morning, about 5 a.m. I don't like to run in hard rain, but I will run when it is really cold. Once you get warmed up, that's not a big deal.

"When I first started running, a marathon seemed outrageous."

When Simpson launched his competitive running drills nine years ago, he weighed about 170. Nine years later, his weight fluctuates between 155-160.

"I eat quite a bit late in the morning and at lunch, but not so much at dinner," he said.

Simpson realizes his early-to-bed, early-to-rise running workouts aren't very appealing to the majority. "I'd be kidding if I didn't say it's hard to get going sometimes in the morning," he said.

So while the majority of us continue to snooze, Simpson will be striding along his usual route -- up and down MacArthur Street and around the airport trail.

"I really enjoy competing," Simpson said. "That is what keeps me motivated to stay in shape and hit the road."

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Unread postby vaulter870 » Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:53 pm

wish i had a vault coach like that. or that at lest tried to be like that
If you cant do it right , do if 10000 more times till you can

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Re: Coach Practices What He Preaches

Unread postby pvchef23 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:30 pm

My track coach in HS ran daily, too. He would run in his regular clothes. He had many championship XC, indoor and outdoor teams over his career. Crap... now I have to get out and run...


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