Kansas track coach runs 55 miles to honor athletes

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WICHITA, Kan. (CNN/KWCH) – A Kansas high school track coach wanted to honor his seniors who missed out on their final seasons due to COVID-19, so he live streamed himself on Facebook running 55 miles over 11 hours in their honor.

“It just seemed really appropriate to symbolically run to north as a way of reaching out to my North kids and then on the way back, changing shirts and doing the same thing on the way back to Newton,” Newton High School Track Coach DJ Bookout in Wichita, Kansas said.

For the last four years, Bookout coached and taught at Wichita North but next season he’ll coach in his hometown at Newton High School

So to honor his athletes, both past and future, he ran from his house in Newton to North High School and back to Newton High School on what would’ve been their last day of school, streaming it on Facebook Live for them see.

“This race isn’t about me though, it’s about you guys,” Bookout said

It was about 11 hours of running, every mile for his kids who lost their season to COVID-19.

“The poor senior. They were so motivated. I’d never seen them train as hard as they did during the winter season,” Bookout said.

One of his fellow coaches at North joined him for part of the run. They wanted to find a way for their kids to run too.

“One step at a time. [It’s] something I tell my runners all the time… Big journeys start with one step,” Bookout said.

He wants every kid he’s coached to know that he believes in them and to never give up even through hard times.

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