Nathan Schlicher - May 2023 Volunteer of the Month
May 16, 2023 by Let Me Run National
This month’s volunteer of the month is Nathan Schlicher, an ER doctor who realized the importance of spending time with his kids after working on the frontline of the pandemic. In the past few years, he has coached both Let Me Run and Girls on the Run and even learned to play Fortnite to spend more quality time with his kids and their friends. With a positive attitude - and some dad jokes - Nathan tells us how he ended up coaching the practice in his driveway for a season when needed, how he gets other parents involved to manage the time commitment, and why he’s a fan of the Let Me Run curriculum.
We are happy to honor Nathan with a pair of Feetures socks and the May 2023 Volunteer of the Month award for his commitment to Let Me Run!
LMR: Nathan - we don’t know how you do it all, but we are so grateful to have you as a dedicated coach! Can you share more about how you've been involved with Let Me Run in the past? How long have you been a coach?
Nathan: This is my second season coaching with Let Me Run after four years of doing Girls on the Run with my daughter. After seeing the benefits of the program for her, I hoped that there was a similar program and thankfully there was, Let me Run! We were still a young division of the country, but Jen Shevitz has been an absolutely amazing leader of our region. I reached out to see if there was an interest in expanding from Seattle to the other side of the Puget Sound and she dove in with us. We got up and running (dad joke!) with the first program in Pierce County and have expanded to more schools this year.
LMR: We heard you led Let Me Run practice from your driveway for one season. This is incredible! What inspired you to do this, and can you share more about the experience?
Nathan: Necessity is the mother of invention. We were coming out of the pandemic and our school district was still limiting sports on school grounds. We also had a new school complete construction with no outdoor space as the field was still being finished. After three years of coaching GOTR from my driveway and virtually, it seemed natural. We ended up doing GOTR two days a week and LMR the other two days. From the driveway we had a 1/3 mile loop that was nice and hilly for the kids to suffer on and build character for the eventual 5K. In the end the finishing community 5K was a bit hilly so it proved to be great prep!
LMR: Why is the mission of Let Me Run meaningful to you?
Nathan: In an increasingly pressured world of its all about winning and finishing first, Let Me Run struck the right chord with me of sports as a metaphor for life. We get a chance to talk with the boys about being a good citizen, friend, neighbor, and family member. Together we can explore feelings and communication skills as well as the importance not only of running our own race, but bringing others along with us. That sense of community and collaboration is what we need more of in my opinion, not the dog eat dog, win at all cost world that is often in sports for kids these days.
LMR: How do you juggle coaching with other priorities in your life?
Nathan: As best I can! As an ER doctor on the frontline of the pandemic, I'll be honest it was a wake up call for me. Watching partners and friends of mine get sick and in some cases die from COVID, brought home the brevity of life and the risk I was taking to care for my neighbors. In doing so I was at times not prioritizing time with my own family and being present for their growing up. I made a commitment to start coaching more of the kids activities, taking more vacations, and engaging with them in their passions. I even broke down and learned how to play fortnite with them! I'm not always able to be there for every event, but I've tried hard to put down the phone and leave emails and tasks that can wait until tomorrow for then instead of cramming them in over the kids activities. I'm not perfect, but working on it!
LMR: What would be your advice for anyone thinking of becoming a Let Me Run coach?
Nathan: Do it! Now having coached a lot of my kids activities in the last few years, I'm amazed at how often other parents are happy to help out, they just don't want to be the organizer. One thing I'm good at is organization! So I've been the head coach at times, but only did 70% of the practices/games/runs. As long as I can make it to the first event and last run, I'm happy to be the organizer. Others will join and help out. And if you don't like organizing it, then be the helper to encourage others to step up as a coach. It truly is less work than you think and worth every moment with your kids.