A lot has been written on these pages about the Olympic-hopeful accomplishments of Cierra Runge. Through hard work, perserverience and determination Cierra has made herself into a national and international swimming force. She is the real deal and she’s ours.
But Cierra didn’t just end up on top of the junior swimming world and a team member of the top collegiate swimming team by accident. When she saw the Olympics on television in 2000, she didn’t go out and find swimming lessons at Jennersville YMCA on her own. Somebody did the research for her and got her registered. When her coach put her on a competitive team and Cierra needed to get to far flung meets, she didn’t ride her bike or hitch-hike her way to the meet. Somebody drove her. When she needed the nutrition to sustain her rigorus 6 day-a-week training schedule she didn’t just walk into Turkey Hill or Dutchway and take what she needed and walk out. No, someone was there to do the shopping, pay the cashier and prepare her meals.
To borrow from a familiar axiom, behind every good athlete is a good parent. Cierra’s parents, Scott and Diane Runge have been the driving force in Cierra’s life.
As Cierra continues her drive toward earning a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, Diane is taking what she has learned along the way online in the form of a blog. Her blog, SportsMomia: Parenting Athletes, Raising Champions leverages Runge’s Masters degree in Education and 30 years of experience working with athletes and their parents to offer practical experience and insight on nurturing and encouraging gifted young athletes.
Sportsmomia’s “About” section describes Diane’s experience and perspective far better than I can.
My current car has almost 200,000 miles on it. The driving started with little league and summer swim league when my child-athletes each started at 4 years old.
Taylor was heavily recruited by upwards of 50 universities to play baseball and played for Bucknell University. Pro scouts have been following him with great interest. He just graduated and is transitioning to adult life.
Cierra is finishing high school. She’s a USA Swimmer who represents the United States on the USA National Youth Team who currently trains in a group of 9 National and International Gold Medalists including the greatest Olympian of all time. She qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials and finished within the top 25 in her events. She competes at the national and international level, was one of the top 5 recruits in the country, is one of the fastest swimmers in history and will attend Cal-Berkeley on a full-scholarship. She has her sites set on Rio for 2016 and most commentators are noticing and confirming the reality of that goal.
Maddie went to her first Duathalon in Richmond, VA, and became the National Champion. She took up riding/dressage and in less than a year became the Mid-Atlantic and Regional Champion. She returned to swimming and is now pressing hard on United States Swimming Jr.National Championship qualifications.
All three are honors/AP students, creative, have hobbies, love to laugh and play and are interesting and fun to be around.
I learned a few things while driving all these years: Sports. Nutrition. Sleep. Practice. Competing. College Recruiting, going Pro, Parents. Coaches….but also about kids who become champions both in their sport and out. I’m not an expert except learning from experience. I don’t believe my kids are any more extraordinary than yours. I believe every single child has potential that ought to be maximized and I can only imagine a world where each one got to become their best and contribute great things to the rest of us.
I’ve got a Master’s degree in Education and 30 years of working with kids from babies through high school and their parents in various organizations and educational institutions.
If you care to drive along and listen, I’ll share what I’ve learned…maybe it’ll help you become your best or lead your children to maximize their potential.
Amazing Awaits. Come on. Let’s go.
Good luck Diane! We’ll be cheering Cierra and you on for years to come.
Here’s a Proctor and Gamble commercial I saw last night celebrating the impact of moms on every Olympic athlete.