US Olympic trainer speaks at City College

Andrea Malloyd

Physical fitness students were treated to a special presentation by 2004 Olympic Coach of the Year and distance running coach Dr. Joe Vigil April 14 at Harry West Gymnasium.

Vigil’s presentation titled, “The Physiology of Training the Distance Runner,” was the second of a three lecture series organized by Coach Paul Greer.

“Knowledge is power and it’s a catalyst of support for faculty and students to learn something about fitness and health,” Greer said. “Sometimes when you bring someone in from out of town, it draws more students and faculty than if it were someone known on campus.”

Greer’s strategy seemed to have worked. The room was nearly full with the presence of athletic students, coaches and faculty members.

Vigil, who has coached 13 Olympic runners including Deena Kastor, the silver medalist of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, gave an hour-and-a-half presentation on the criteria for becoming a great distance runner.

Vigil does not have any experience himself running; He did not run in high school or in college. he originally wanted to coach football but decided to take on the challenge of coaching distance running, coaching three runners with no pay.

“I knew a little something about track, but not much. They all qualified for the state team and by-golly they all placed in the state team, and I said ‘There must be something to coaching track,'” Vigil said.

Vigil told stories of his travels around the world for coaching including his experience coaching for the International Olympic Committee in Mexico.

“I went down to Mexico to coach for the IOC, and those guys taught me a lot. Here I am, the coach and they are teaching me new things (about running),” Vigil said.

Vigil taught students techniques for staying healthy in the young adult age, as well as guidelines for keeping their children healthy.

“First graders should run about 20 miles a week, in activity, not actual running,” Vigil added. “The hardest thing to do is to keep up with a first grader.”

After the presentation, the students were allowed to ask questions concerning health and running. They were also allowed to purchase paperback copies of his book entitled “Road to the Top”.

There are two more lectures left for students to attend. Students enrolled in PE 153 will receive one hour of make-up attendance and faculty members will get one hour of FLEX credit for each lecture attended.