Running into your future

Participate in a running sport like track and field or cross country to prepare for your future career.

Running is very popular now-a-days, with many people competing in running events. While most people run as a hobby or to stay in shape, youth at the middle and high school level can participate in track and cross country programs as a sport. These programs can be used as a foundational sport to get in shape or increase speed for other sports such as soccer, basketball, football, baseball and more. Whether they run as a sport or as a hobby, youth can use their interest in running to explore potential careers.

Since running is linked to health, one career field to consider is healthcare. Athletic training, fitness training, sports medicine, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and dietetics and nutrition would all complement a passion for running. There are also careers related to human services to think about – perhaps becoming a physical education teacher and/or coaching in track and field or cross country.

Youth who are not interested in careers related to healthcare and human services but who want to maintain some type of connection to running could dedicate some of their free time to the sport. Check into options for volunteering as a coach at a local high school or track club, or consider teaching youth about running through 4-H or other organizations. Another option to consider is serving as an official at track and cross country meets.

As youth consider careers related to running, Michigan State University Extension offers some additional ideas for preparing for a future job in this area:

  • Enroll in science and math classes in high school.
  • Volunteer in different organizations working with youth and serve in some type of peer mentoring role.
  • Check into serving as a volunteer coach in a youth track league or at an elementary school for track and field.
  • Seek opportunities to participate in job shadowing programs or participate in an internship for your career field of interest.
  • Consider participating in 4-H healthy living programs. Michigan 4-H Youth Development has many opportunities for youth to participate in programs for health, food and well-being.

Even if they don’t make it to the Olympics, there are many opportunities for a student to turn their hobbies and interests, such as running, into a career. Start thinking today about the many possibilities and you could run into your future!

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