School athletics are a little different from bigger countries than developing countries like Samoa. This difference comes in with training. In Bigger countries they have the facilities, equipment and clothing for proper training, here it is a different story. It is very interesting to see the change and watch these children strive through the challenges.
There are over 60 students from my local college competing in track and field next week, and they all go to practice every day. I think 3 or 4 of the students have sport shoes to run in. The rest run through the field bare. This doesn’t seem to bother them at all. I have my sneakers on, and I try to avoid the piles left behind from cows and horses. The students want to be the best so they don’t let it bother them as their steps go into these disgusting piles during the runs.
The teenagers run in whatever clothes they have, some of their shorts or pants are jeans or a similar material. I can imagine how difficult it is to do proper stretches or anything else in this clothing.
I am even more proud of the teachers, each day over 2/3 of the school staff go to train with the kids. They run, stretch, help them throw shot-puts, and do it all. In Samoa, teachers have the reputation of being fat and lazy. These teachers are breaking the mold by showing what they can do. I’ve learned just how slow of a runner I am in comparison to many of them…but at least I try and have fun!
As we run on the uneven terrain, I am so proud of everyone for always doing their best. They are not only pushing themselves, but pushing me to keep up with them as well. I think by the end of all of our training, we will all be in the best shapes of our lives. It has been a fun experience, and I hope we can keep up our evening running group for the next upcoming months.