My store: Fox Valley

Is Your Kid a Future Distance Demon?

Jay Harris, founder and coach,

"The Distance Demons youth running club has involved dozens of kids in the area for over a decade. Our members range from elementary school to high school. The older kids cannot compete with us during school seasons due to WIAA regulations. We currently have members from ten communities, from as far away as Stevens Point and Oconto Falls. Sometimes other kids and parents notice the Demons at road races. The neon yellow singlets (provided by our great sponsor, Fleet Feet Fox Valley) are hard to miss. Sometimes we approach kids who seem to be really into their running at road races and middle school meets.

"Sometimes parents contact us out of the blue after learning about the Demons through Fleet Feet or occasional blurbs in the media. That seems to happen  more often now as parents realize that their young runners need something extra for their interest and talent. There are plenty of special outlets for kids in other sports--"select" soccer, Pop Warner football, hockey leagues, and so on. The Demons has become the place for kids "wanting to go the extra mile" in running, as our slogan says. Our approach is more loose than most other sports clubs. Team practices are not frequent or mandatory. Parents like that, everyone is busy. We do target certain road races, and some kids get involved in the summer Junior Olympic track series. We become most active after school cross country season, training for state and national Junior Olympics meets. We have a history of strong performance at all those events, including road race age group winners, state Junior Olympic champions, and national All-Americans.

"Other than the joy of running, what the kids like most is the team spirit, fun, and friendships. We have team parties, sometimes with an elite runner guest, and we do some running games at practices. The kids (and parents) become good buddies. Just as importantly, the Demons are young ambassadors for running. Five of them teamed for the Fox Cities Marathon relay last fall and won it, beating 117 other teams (mostly adults). One of the second place group of police officers contacted me to say this:"What a great group of kids…. They were great competitors but also very polite and friendly…. Everyone on our team was very impressed with them…. Congratulations to them as competitors for winning, but also for the way they presented themselves.” It was not the first time the Demons received praise. The club is about character and sportsmanship as much as anything.

"We welcome new members who love to run and like what we represent. Learn more about us on our award-winning website,"

~Thanks for the contribution, Jay!!~

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