By Kathy McGrath
Marathon runner Sarah Moncada wants to create what she didn’t have as a child: a safe, supervised place for kids who enjoy running.
“I loved running, but my parents weren’t keen on me jogging alone in the neighbourhood,“ said the 23-year-old who attended Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate. “I sent my parents on a wild goose chase but they never found a supervised running group. A lot of times, my mother would follow me on her bike or take me to the track when she finished work.”
In response to the need, Sarah recently created the Scrambled Legs Run Club, a supervised, structured training program for children 10 to 17 years old. Classes, which have been delayed due to increased COVID restrictions, will be held at various outdoor locations including the Mowat track, the Port Union Waterfront Trail and St. Malachy school on Bennett Road.
Sarah charges $50 a week for three classes (a total of four hours) or $20 a class for kids who may not be able to attend each session. The first week of classes are free so kids, and their parents, can test it out.
Although Sarah has always set goals for herself as a runner — she is currently training for the Boston Marathon — she has never competed against anyone but herself. “I focus on the experience of running and proving to myself that I can reach certain goals,” she said.
Sarah has created the same philosophy for the running club, which accepts kids in the Highland Creek, West Rouge, Centennial and West Hill neighbourhoods.
“I want to help kids reach their goals and get better,” she said. “If they want to do a 5 km run in a certain amount of time, I will help them get there.” Sarah says the group may eventually set a common goal like the Zoo Run — even if they have to do it virtually.
Scrambled Legs is a club for kids who already like running, said Sarah, explaining that “running is one of those things you can’t force on kids or they won’t enjoy the experience.” In this way, the club will provide a social group for kids who share the same interest.
While she works full-time in marketing, Sarah has six years’ experience working with kids as a camp counsellor, swim instructor and lifeguard with the City of Toronto. She was also a member of Mowat’s cross country and track teams.
At this time when kids are cooped up inside and looking for a way to be active outside while socially distanced, Sarah hopes her club will provide a safe, structured place for young runners to grow and engage.