Maria Michta-Coffey Race Walk Event


3/31/19 - Ronkonkoma, NY -- Walk-USA and Sachem North High School hosted the Maria Michta-Coffey Race Walks and a 5,000m run on Sunday, March 31, to give athletes the opportunity to earn qualifying times for the Penn Relays, which take place April 25-27.

Elitefeats timed the races, and the results can be found here: qualifying time for high school girls is 29:00 for the 5,000m and 16:45 for the 3,000m. Besides the Penn Relays, high school girls may also use their performances to qualify for New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

Some 55 competitors from Long Island, upstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut toed the line in five different races, which included a 1,500m walk for youth and novices. Each competitor and volunteer received a souvenir medal, and plaques went to the top three finishers in each event.

The walks were named for two-time Olympian Maria Michta-Coffey, a Sachem graduate, who was on hand to offer encouragement and advice. After the races and awards ceremony, Maria fielded questions from the participants, which were mainly about training. She emphasized discipline, and said mental toughness was just as important as physical strength. Gary Westerfield talked about the power of positive affirmations, which was one of the tools Maria has used in her many years of training. She said she kept a journal, and she wrote in it, "I am an Olympian," about seven years before she was named to the Olympic team. (Gary recommends the book, "The Mental Athlete" by Kay Porter.)

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