Come Join the Fun. We Dare You!

by Kristen Hislop

                            AmyLyn Schmidt, Noah Lyles, Kristen

I think I am pretty cool. My boys, eh not so much. But then I go to the USATF Annual Meeting and get Noah Lyles (if you are living under a rock, he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships Budapest last summer) to give a shout out to Shen. Shenendehowa boys if you aren’t stoked, then… Well, I received a ‘cool’ from one son.

Yup, Noah is a world champion and challenged the NBA! But how did I meet him, congratulate him on his award, talk about his speech AND get a video? I was at the USATF annual meeting.

Are you female, do you run? Have you heard of Sha’Carri Richardson? She definitely isn’t “back she is better.” Some people will say - why the hair, why the nails, why the show? Why not? This gets people looking at our sport. Can you operate in daily life with 1inch nails? Now try to win the World Championships! I had a serious conversation with this World Champion! How? The USATF Annual Meeting.

Grant Holloway is a 3 time world champion hurdler. I’ve asked him to teach me to hurdle so I can do steeple when I'm 60 - he said OK. Not a resounding yes, but we’ve gotten pics for a couple of years and he’ll hang out and follow (on Instagram @hislopcoaching) this old broad.

                                           AmyLyn, Jenny Hitchings, Kristen, Sue McDonald

Jenny Hitchings is the Masters Long Distance Running Athlete of the Year. Beth Stalker is a world class runner now consistently hitting over 90% age graded in area races. Jenny consistently hit over 100% in 2023 to gain the title Masters Athlete of the Year (men and women). As you might imagine the age graded tables are getting another update in 2024 coming out for 2025. There were banners hanging outside of the ballroom at the awards banquet. Each winner had a banner. Jenny’s banner was back to back with Noah Lyles. She noted that in her award acceptance speech saying she would challenge him to a marathon to see who could take the banner home. When Noah accepted his award, he told Jenny there was no way he was doing a marathon and she could have the banner. Talking to her after the awards (and getting a photo) she said she couldn’t believe Noah mentioned ‘her’ in his speech! I told her I had videoed Noah’s speech. She excitedly grabbed it from me via air drop and then went to get a photo with Noah.

                                           Shawnti and Kristen

The top athletes in our sport are there for each other. When Shawnti Jackson, Youth Athlete of the Year, accepted her award she talked about mental health. Each subsequent award recipient referenced her saying they would be there for the youth of the sport. Sha’Carri told Shawnti that she was stopping the curse. She was going to share as much about the sport as she could with Shawnti and other youth athletes. She noted that too often the “older” athletes would not share or look out for the up and coming crew fearing they might lose their spot. She said she wasn’t fearful and wanted to share all she learned. Talking to Shawnti after her acceptance she said it was so exciting that Sha’Carri said that considering they compete in the same events. 

As you walk the halls of the meeting there are Olympians and World Champions deep in conversation. Athletes come to advocate for themselves, meet with committees, learn and accept awards. But USATF is much more than just the top of our sport. There are committees that oversee youth, long distance running, track & field, race walking, MUT (mountain, ultra, trail), cross country, coaches, and officials. These committees figure out national championships, review rules, support athletes and more. They are made of people from the 56 associations around the country. 

Adirondack is one of those associations. Those like New England (Boston) and San Diego draw from big populations with many competitive and active athletes. They have 20+ people in leadership roles and need to limit the number of attendees to the meeting. The Niagara Association had multiple people vying for board positions. As with any organization the needs are high, but so are the opportunities. Have you ever wanted to go to the Olympics as part of Team USA? There are coaches, officials, sports psychologists, physical therapists, athlete support, coaches and many others who provide services to the team and events. They have that opportunity because they got involved with USATF at the association level volunteering and learning. 

The Association holds events over the course of the year like youth track & field Junior Olympics. The Association works with local events to create a Grand Prix with prize money for teams. The Association supports clubs. The Association offers sanctioning for local events to get top quality insurance coverage. The Adirondack Association needs your help. We have a number of open board positions. As the saying goes, many hands make for light work. We would love to get more hands and brains supporting the Adirondack Association. Sadly, we are on the brink of losing our accreditation which would mean that we would be absorbed by Niagara or New York. That means no local Grand Prix, no local support for events, no local youth opportunities for junior Olympic qualifiers and more. Reach out to to learn how you can get involved - at any level. Then in 2024 maybe you will be posting photos of you and the top athletes in our sport - the newly crowned Olympians.

KristenHislopEnd.jpgKristen Hislop is the Director of the Freihofer's Run for Women and the Clifton Park Freedom Mile. She currently serves as Vice President of USATF Adirondack. In the triathlon world she serves as Secretary on the USAT Triathlon Women's Committee and as a Women for Tri Ambassador. Hislop Coaching offers run, swim, cycling and triathlon coaching to athletes of all abilities and ages.
She can be found at

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