This one is for you Coach Thomas Hathaway (1932 to 2012).
"Coach" was my college cross country and track coach at the University of Indianapolis from 1989 - 1992. He had an amazing way to encourage and inspire his high school, collegiate and recreational athletes whom he coached over the years. He ran a total of 131 marathons in his lifetime including one in every state and is in multiple Hall of Fames. He was married to Jane "Mrs. Coach" and they had five daughters. He was admired most for his tender demeanor, humble nature, and ability to make everyone feel special and inspire others. He had a paralyzed vocal cord that made his voice rise and fall several octaves unexpectedly. It seemed to do so especially when he got excited. It made his inspirational speeches and encouraging calls during difficult races unforgettable. He gave out marbles for outstanding performances, a meaningless token, really, but not to his runners. Many of them not wanting to disappoint coach for the challenge he presented, accomplished PRs in workouts and meets to attain this symbol of accomplishment and approval from coach. Trophies and medals of athletes have long been packed away but the symbolic marbles are still clung to today and on display in many homes. The story began as he coached in high school and was trying to motivate one of his athletes to get a PR. The athlete accomplished it and jokingly asked "what's my prize?" Coach cleverly looked around saw a marble on the ground, picked it up and gave it to the runner. From that point on the "marble runs" began.
Unexpectedly, on April 22nd a tragic stoke took coach's life at age 79. He had been preparing for the mini- marathon in the weeks leading up to his passing. His 11 grandchildren participated in the memorial service. His grandson shared stories about his grandfather including the story of the marble and the significance of the marble in his grandfather's hands. As the family took their position in the procession preparing for the burial site, I felt the importance to "Pass it On." As I placed one of the significant marbles that I had earned from "coach" into the hands of his grandchildren, I knew his inspiration and encouragement would live on. On May 5th at the Indy Mini Marathon, many of the runners that he inspired ran with racing bibs with his picture and the words "This One's for You Coach Hathaway! 1932 to 2012"
Submitted by Anonymous
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