Once a runner, always a runner: Mr. Greg Dickman Jake Clark ‘12 Everyone knows the Old Testament teacher with a scruffy beard who roams the halls of Elder always smiling. Mr. Dickman graduated from Elder High School in the class of 2000, but his Panther legacy did not end there. While in high school, Mr. Dickman, now popularly known as “Coach D”, ran cross country and track for four years each and he ran varsity as a sophomore. Since Mr. Dickman succeeded in and basically “lived” cross country and track at Elder, he continued to run at Xavier University. Four years after beginning at XU, Mr. Dickman earned his degree in teaching and returned to become a religion teacher as well as a cross country and track coach at his alma mater. Coach D is widely respected by the students at Elder, and he has made a positive impact on cross country and track runners, creating a positive atmosphere for the team. He was kind enough to offer me a little of his time for an interview. “Why did you decide to coach cross country and track?” Mr. Dickman: “I absolutely love the sport of distance running. It has shaped me significantly into who I am today as a whole person physically, mentally, and spiritually. I want to help other people find meaning in distance running. If they can do that, they can find meaning in life as well. There are so many life lessons learned from distance running.” “As a coach, what ways can you improve the team?” Mr. Dickman: “A lot of people think distance running is just going out and jogging. They think there is no structure to it, but when you’re competing, training has to be more specialized. I’ve learned from past coaches, such as Spencer, Driehaus, my XU coach, and my Earth Drummer coach (the Earth Drummers are a post-collegiate competitive running group). The running knowledge I have is a combination of all of their wisdom. Mentally training runners is just as important as physically training runners.” “Besides running, what do you like to do for fun?” Mr. Dickman: “Watch movies.” “How did you spend the majority of your weekends in high school?” Mr. Dickman: “Besides running and watching movies… I worked at Supreme Nuts& Candy and then Sweets & Eats… good thing I run enough to burn off those calories! Like any other typical high school student, hanging out with friends occupied most of my weekends.” “Who is your favorite super hero and why?” Mr. Dickman: “Batman, or as Mr. Alig and I like to call him, Batmin. I like him because he is human and he technically doesn’t have any super powers, but he does extraordinary things. The other reason I enjoy Batman is just because the storylines are more interesting because the villains are weird and quirky. I have read Batman comics since I was pretty young.” Earlier this year, Coach Dickman took over the distance squad for a couple of months while Mr. Spencer could not make it to practice every day. Coach Dickman asked Coach Spencer if he could try a different style of training that he thought would improve our racing. This style of training consisted of each runner running at a certain pace ranging from an easy, recovery pace to a hard, tempo pace. The combination allows us to have our easy days so that our legs are not too worn out on race day, but also gives us hard enough runs to strengthen our legs so that we can continue to improve. I have witnessed improvement in our team and I can honestly admit that I have noticed less strain on my legs during races and I have been able to drop my times. Coach Dickman spent a great amount of time researching to come up with the perfect paces for every single runner to practice at. Dedication and his love for the sport of running have formed Coach Dickman into an excellent coach and role model for the cross country and distance track team. Mr. Dickman is a role model to everyone at Elder High School.