My name is Erin McIntosh and I began working for Chicago Run as an Up2Us Coach through AmeriCorps in August of 2017. Now eleven months later, I have personally coached 13 of our 49 partnering Chicago Public Schools, participated in the first ever program for residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and contributed to our expansion into the Oakley Square Section 8 Public Housing complex.
These experiences among many more have contributed to my decision to run the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon for Team Chicago Run and benefit the kids, coaches, volunteers, and staff of this incredible organization.
While these experiences influenced my commitment to fundraising and training for Team Chicago Run, my devotion to the sport was established much earlier on. At the age of 12, I began running for my middle school Cross Country team and since then have participated in over 30 seasons of competitive distance running. I have had the opportunity to lead as captain of my college team and run in the NCAA DIII National Championship in 2016. Over the years, I was privileged with guidance from brilliant coaches and teammates which I carry with me to this very day. These relationships that I have formed through running have shaped who I am and everything I know I can be.
These aspects that have defined my running experience are present within the programs of Chicago Run and are why I believe in this organization. These friendships, outlets, challenges, and successes that Chicago Run provides to its 18,000 participants are why I am running the marathon.
I am running to ensure the continuation of Chicago Run’s impact. I am running because Chicago Run proves to these kids that they can persevere, overcome, and thrive through what they never thought possible. I am running because eleven months later, I have learned that these kids have everything they need within them, only with the Chicago Run community behind them and platform beneath them do they have the tools to move mountains.
Erin served as an Up2Us Sports Coach at Chicago Run, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the physical fitness and social and emotional well-being of Chicago children and youth. Her coaching position was made possible by Serve Illinois.
This piece was originally written for the Chicago Run blog and can be found here.