CHRISTIAN’S SPORTS BEAT - From Runner to Coach - Caleb Bowen

By: Christian Deiss


From Runner To Coach

Christian Deiss of Scott Depot, 12, is a seventh-grade student at Hurricane Middle School. He is an avid runner competing for his school’s Cross-Country and Track squads. 

(Huntington, WV) – I just finished my first season as a member of the Hurricane Track and Cross Country teams and recently found out that a former member of both teams is now helping to lead Marshall University’s running program.  Caleb Bowen, a 2007 graduate of Hurricane Middle and 2011 graduate of Hurricane High School is now serving as the assistant coach for distance runners for the Thundering Herd’s Men and Women’s Cross Country and Women’s Track squads.

This season every time I turned around it seemed like I was seeing Coach Bowen, either helping out at the Hurricane High School Invitational or rooting on runners at the state championships at Laidley Field.  He was always talking to all of the young runners, who at 24, the young coach can easily relate to, “It’s really nice because they know I have been in their shoes recently.  I feel up and coming racers know I was a runner, so I think they listen a little closer because they know I’ve been there.  They know I love running, just about more than anything else and many have seen me train so they know I mean business.” A native of Culloden, Bowen graduated from Marshall last year with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary education with a specialization in Social Studies.  So there is another thing I have in common with Coach Bowen, along with running, Social Studies is my favorite class.

Every runners wants to get faster and most times that comes from getting good coaching.  I have seen Coach Bowen’s runners give their all at a Marshall meet this winter and had a feeling that I knew what he like most about coaching, “I really like to see people get better, no matter how fast someone is, seeing progression is a runner is great and watching a runner take your suggestions and get better as a season or career goes on and get PRs (personal records) is my favorite part about coaching.” While serving as an assistant coach, Bowen is working towards his Master’s Degree in Secondary Education.

When Bowen started running for the Hurricane Middle School Cross Country team, he was one of only two boys on the squad, compared to nearly 40 boys on my team this past season.  I asked Bowen about his memories of his early running career, “I remember having a lot of fun. We had really fun teams in middle and high school, all of the guys on those teams still keep in touch.  We had a really good team chemistry.  We weren’t the best as that didn’t matter, we all just tried our hardest.  Through both schools it seemed we were always running together, which made those long workouts a lot more enjoyable.” As a colligate runner, he was a four-year member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, a Conference USA Academic Medalist in 2011 and an Academic All-American in 2012.

Like any young runner I want to improve not only my times but my training as well.  I wanted to know from Coach Bowen what tips he had for young runners just getting started or participating for their school running teams, “You hear it a lot, but young runners need to remember to have fun, that’s the most important thing.  Young runners that are really good sometimes get burned out in high school because they get tired of all of the high mileage and give up on the sport.  Young middle schoolers like yourself, should worry first about the fun aspect of the sport, because that will keep them excited every time they put on their running shoes.”

As cross country training has begun for next season, I will try and keep Coach Bowen’s advice in mind and even though I might be hot and tired from a good workout, know that the smile on my face is a good indicator of the fun I had on the run.

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