RAMSEY, N.J. — Longtime friends and borough residents Jenn Burke and Sharon Bonanno are teaming up this fall to coach Heart and Sole, a national 12-week running program for adolescent girls.
Sponsored by Girls on the Run, the program runs twice a week in Glen Rock, where both women are elementary school teachers.
They believe they have a strong foundation, given that many of the athletes are their former students.
“We’ve known the kids in one way, in the classroom,” Bonanno said. “I’m hoping that the comfort level and trust is good when they come to Heart and Sole.”
The program will run for the first time nationally this season as Heart and Sole, formerly Girls on Track.
The new curriculum will focus on any issue the girls want to talk about — self-esteem, drugs and puberty, for instance — with the ultimate goal of completing a 5K race at the end of the season.
“We’re very similar people with similar foundations and core values ,” Bonnao said. “We will naturally exude those things to the kids.”
“You can’t be a good teacher without being passionate about the students," Burke added. “This will give us good insight to our students, our kids and the girls we’re coaching.”
Heart and Sole’s new curriculum includes a strength-training component, which longtime runner Bonanno said she’s looking forward to conducting “down on the ground” with her girls.
Burke, meanwhile, is excited about the strength training.
“The program’s whole idea is of strength and power, and I love that,” she said. “Running is great for some people but running is daunting for others.This is your core and it’s so important. It’s not hard it’s fun.”
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