This year, long-time Ausome athlete Luke discovered his love of running – with his family by his side. Parents Molly and Jon recently shared Luke’s remarkable journey from being first introduced to running this spring at Family Run Club to competing for his school track team this fall.
“The unique way that Ausome and Coach Amy ran Run Club really sparked an interest in Luke. He loved seeing how many popsicle sticks he could collect with each lap of the field. Each week, he would aim to increase his number of popsicle sticks, and each week he did! It became a family outing that we all looked forward to on Sunday mornings. It was a great way to get out and get exercise together in a fun group environment.”
The last session of Run Club is timed to lead into the Ottawa marathon, and Luke inspired his whole family to sign up, including his two sisters. “He enjoyed it so much that we decided to join Team Ausome at Ottawa Race Weekend. Luke did amazing – running the 2K in 10 minutes and 40 seconds!”
But that was just the next step in Luke’s journey.
“Over the summer, we continued to go for 3-6k family runs in our community. Running has helped calm his body and mind. He loves listening to his favourite music on the run route and at the end always checks his watch for his step count and run time.”
Then this fall, Luke started middle school. And all those steps he put in since that first day of Run Club gave him the confidence and courage to take his love of running to the next level.
“We were so proud when he tried out for the cross country team – and made it! He attended his after-school practices religiously. Then in November, with a large cheering squad behind him, he and his team competed in his first track and field competition. We were all just so proud to see him competing as a team member and he did great!”
News of his remarkable progression didn’t come as a surprise to Run Club Coach Amy. “I’m thrilled for him! He is such a hard worker and a natural runner. He really inspires me to continue coaching Ausome athletes.”
Luke’s journey is what we strive for with all of our athletes of all abilities: for the joy, skills and confidence they learn at our programs to carry over to school and community settings, and for our families to discover new opportunities to be active together.
“We are so thankful for Ausome. If it weren’t for this amazing organization, Luke may not have found this sport and, even more, the confidence to try out for a school team. It’s been one success after another and we have Ausome to thank for that!”
But it is we who are thankful to Luke and his family, for sharing their story and inspiring all of us.
Way to go, Luke! You. Are. Ausome!
You can give more young people like Luke the chance to discover their own love of physical activity. Donate now to support Ausome Ottawa’s mission to enrich the lives of children with autism and their families through sport.