By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Running Club is coming into this season with smiles for miles. Over the course of the 2017-18 season, Lopes’ Head Coach Kimberly Sims accomplished both of her goals: double the club in size and help students reach their own goals.
Running into a new season with new goals, Sims clearly has a passion for running and inspiring her team.
“One of my goals is to get the kids more active in the community,” Sims said. “I want to get the kids involved in the community doing things.”
In fact, she is not only a coach of athletes but a coach in life. Sims devotes her time to Skyview Elementary as a special education strategist. Dr. Sims previously worked as a high school special education teacher for kids with multiple disabilities and was heavily involved with events like the Special Olympics.
“If I can get my runners out and helping with something like the Special Olympics or involved in the community, then that would be great,” Sims said. “That is where my passion is, and I know some of my athletes are wanting to be teachers or do physical therapy and they might want to get interested in adaptive sports.”
From teaching in the classroom to teaching on the track, Sims is always looking for an opportunity to motivate.
“I coach teachers and administrators all day and I’ve been a teacher for so long that it becomes automatic for me,” Sims said. “I feel like in life, you will always have to teach and reteach. Even if you are an advanced runner, you have to remind the runners of stretching, how to eat healthy, to train, and how to have a healthy mindset.”
Sims is always encouraging her team to find their “happy pace,” something some of her athletes have begun to take hold of.
“Coach (Sims) really cares about us as students and wants us to excel in life,” sophomore Julia Allen said.
Last season, Allen ran and finished 35th in her division at the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon.
“She gives us in-depth training and she cares about what we’re doing and how we’re feeling. She’s overall a very caring person,” said Allen.
The GCU Running Club looks to go the distance this season with Coach Sims leading the way. The Lopes’ start off with the 43rd Annual 3TV Phoenix 10K in November.
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