Teachers and coaches leave such an impact on the lives of their athletes across the U.S. and globe.
Sunday at St. Charles, Mo., 26.2-Mile Cowbell Marathon, Edwardsville High School head girls, and boys cross country coach George Patrylak and University of Illinois Springfield head men’s and women’s cross country coach Tyler Pence, didn’t forget their athletes who are now going on to stardom in post-college events.
One of the more touching parts of the marathon for two area women - Julianna Determan and Savannah Brannan - was the attendance of the two coaches and George’s wife, Roxanne, who cheered them at multiple spots along the way. Coach Pence drove from Springfield, IL., to watch the entire 26.2-mile race. Pence recently posted an incredible time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds, to win the 26.2-mile TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon. He has become a national/world-class runner since he became the head coach at UIS and competed at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon. A marathon is a long race for any athlete, and this one took 3-plus hours for both women, but the coaches were there from start to finish.
Savannah was third overall in the female division with a time of 3 hours, 20 minutes, and 58 seconds.
This story appeared in The River Bender on Oct. 6, 2021.