Dixon YMCA Kids Just Wanna Reagan Run 5K: Training available for youths

Reagan Run 5K

Editor’s note: The Reagan Run 5K will be July 6 in Dixon. Leading up to that event, we will be publishing columns from the Reagan Run 5K Committee about the upcoming 5K and the people involved with it.

Katie Matteson’s journey to becoming a certified running coach is one marked by resilience, determination and a profound sense of purpose. Growing up, Matteson faced a formidable adversary in the form of an eating disorder in her late teens and early 20s. But amid the darkness, she discovered a beacon of light: running.

For Matteson, running wasn’t just a hobby or a form of exercise – it was a lifeline. With each stride, she found herself reclaiming control over her body and mind, breaking free from the suffocating grip of her disorder. Running became her sanctuary, her therapist, her most trusted confidante.

As Matteson’s love for running deepened, so too did her desire to share its transformative power with others. So she embarked on a journey to become a certified running coach, armed with a mission to inspire and empower others through the sport that had saved her life. Matteson has been running over the past 14 years, completing seven marathons and many other racing events.

For the past eight years, Matteson has poured her heart and soul into coaching others in running. This is her fifth year coaching for the Dixon Family YMCA Kids Just Wanna Reagan Run 5K training program. Through her guidance and mentorship, she helps children from first grade to sixth grade understand not only the physical aspects of running but also the mental and emotional fortitude it requires.

The benefits of youths running are numerous and far reaching. Physically, running helps improve cardiovascular health, build strength and endurance, and promote overall well-being. But perhaps even more importantly, running teaches valuable life skills such as discipline, perseverance and resilience.

This summer, the YMCA Kids Just Wanna Reagan Run 5K training program promises to be an exciting and enriching experience for young runners. Under Matteson’s expert guidance, participants will learn proper running form and technique, develop strategies for pacing and endurance, and set and achieve personal goals.

But the benefits extend far beyond the physical realm. Through running, children will learn the importance of goal-setting, teamwork and self-confidence. They’ll discover that with dedication and perseverance, they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, both on the track and in life.

As the summer training program unfolds, participants can expect a fun and supportive environment where they can challenge themselves, make new friends and build lifelong memories. Whether they’re crossing the finish line of their first 5K race or simply pushing themselves to new personal bests, each milestone reached is a testament to their hard work and dedication.

For Matteson, coaching for the YMCA Kids Just Wanna Reagan Run 5K training program isn’t just a job – it’s a calling. It’s an opportunity to pay forward the gift of running that saved her life and to inspire the next generation of young athletes to reach for the stars.

And as she watches her young runners grow and flourish under her guidance, she knows that she’s not just coaching athletes – she’s shaping futures. With each step they take, they’re not just running toward the finish line – they’re running toward a brighter, healthier and more empowered future.

The YMCA Kids Just Wanna Reagan 5K Training Program is for kids in first through sixth grades. Registration still is available up until the first week of practice. The program will run for six weeks leading up to the Reagan Run 5K on July 6. Register online at operations.daxko.com/programs/redirector.aspx?cid=2183&tagid=35445. You also can stop by the Dixon YMCA to register in person.

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