“Bowerman Babes” Inspire CPS Students

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Chicago, let me introduce you to the Bowerman Babes, three fast ladies that know a bit about speed work. All three have been to the Olympics and are training to qualify for 2020.

Kate Grace, Marielle Hall, and Colleen Quigley are three members of the Bowerman Track Club, a Portland, Oregon-based club providing running opportunities for youth, elite, masters and professional runners.

The Bowerman Babes arrived in Chicago this last week and set out to make a real difference in our community. They visited five Chicago Public schools to meet with track and cross-country teams and talk about their experiences as Olympic runners.

Students from Jones College Prep High School, Hubbard High School, Chicago Bulls College Prep, Kenwood High School, and Mather High School were all visited by these Olympians.

“I was amazed at how creative the coaches and teams were,” Hall observed. “Many did not have tracks, but used parking lots, sidewalks, and fields to do their training. It reminded me that we don’t need all of the fancy equipment to run. It’s just running.”

Grace described how they coach middle schoolers in Portland and was incredibly impressed with the progress of the Chicago students. “The kids were supporting themselves, many of them running a city block versus using a track.”

Nike took the girls to all parts of the city from the south to the north to the east to allow them to meet kids from all areas. “It was nice to meet kids from all different countries that are residing in Chicago,” stated Hall. “I enjoyed interacting with students from all over Chicago.”

The ladies delivered messages of encouragement to young Chicagoans just beginning their running careers. The meetings were impactful as our students learned about the work and dedication required to be an Olympic athlete.

Following their high school tours, the Bowerman babes spoke at an elite women’s running panel at Heartbreak Hill Running Club. As with all Nike events, the room was packed and the energy was high as the crowd prepared to hear the ladies speak.

Many attendees were preparing to run the Chicago Marathon and benefitted from the words of wisdom these young ladies shared. “You’ve already done the work,” Grace said to the marathoners. “Enjoy the city: Laugh, let loose, and don’t stress.”

Hall echoed Grace’s advice “Remind yourself that you love doing this. The city puts on an incredible event. Don’t become overwhelmed with the pre-race stresses. You love this.”

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Mandi began running in middle school and never stopped. As a high school and college cheerleader, running was the exact athletic counterpart to keep her fitness levels high. While attending The John Marshall Law School in 2007, Mandi ran her first Chicago Marathon, the final year it was partnered with title sponsor, LaSalle Bank. Mandi has continued to run several marathons and half marathons each year. An Illinois licensed attorney, Mandi is currently the Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, a council of government representing 42 municipalities in Lake County. An avid weekend race warrior, Mandi tries to run 2-3 races each month from Milwaukee to Chicago and loves the opportunity to report about her experiences in Chicago Athlete

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