My Amazing Running Coaches: Sid and Asteria
“I love life, Sandra. I love it with all my heart!” said Coach Sid to me while driving me downtown from our speed work on Thursday night.
I met Coach Sid and his beautiful wife, Coach Asteria, last year when I started training for my first marathon with Team For Kids. Some people make the World special by just being in it and that’s exactly how I feel about my two wonderful coaches. I am dedicating this blog post to them, to honor their passion for running and immeasurable love for people and life.
Sid Howard has been busy running for the last 37 years. At 76 years old, Coach Sid can run a mile in under 7 min. He is talking about going to Australia next year to run the World Masters Athletes in Track and Field and hopes to win his 9th gold medal! His running journey has earned him over 50 National Titles, 8 World Championships, 5 World Records and in 2005 he was inducted in the Masters Hall of Fame. Coach Sid is an Ambassador of Masters Track and Field. His running career is a true testament to his character built on hard work, persistence, and determination.
At 59 years old, Coach Sid graduated from Keans College. His grandchildren were at his college graduation. He is so proud of his college degree. ❤ It was a long road full of hardships and plenty of running. He quit high school in 11th grade. Math and wooden shop classes weren’t easy for him, however, he was “number one at Cross Country and number one clown in the class“. 🙂 Everyone loved him! After dropping out from high school, Coach Sid joined the air force, eventually got his GED and started an astonishing running career at age 39.
I adore this picture. The smile and pure happiness are priceless. This is July 22, 1978 – Coach Sid ran his first Master’s race. Within the next four months, he ran both NYC Marathon and NJ Marathon in 3hrs:02min and 3hrs:03min respectively.
I asked Coach Sid to send me few pictures with his & Coach Asteria’s medals/trophies and this is what I got. ❤
If you met Coach Sid, you would instantaneously fall in love with him. I guarantee you that. Happiness is Sid Howard. His love for life and people is contagious, his kindness has touched so many lives. He has been a mentor and inspiration for SO MANY of us. “There is so much in running that you can channel in other parts of your life” Coach Sid says. “Running teaches you that you have got to keep pushing on, if you fail, you try again. Persistence is the key”. I asked him, what’s next for him, he said “I will keep running, mentoring, helping others and being myself – Sid Howard.” ❤
Coach Sid’s wife, Asteria Claure Howard, is as wonderful and amazing as he is. I love her with every beat of my heart. I called my mother in Romania the other day and told her not to worry about me anymore. I told her “Mother, there is no reason to lose sleep over me anymore, because I got Coach Asteria in my life.” The amount of love, affection and care that Coach Asteria brings to all of us is simply limitless. Her passion for running comes through from the first second you meet her. Her way of encouraging us is powerful, lovely and heartwarming. “Sandra, you can do this. You got this. You have it in your heart. Just go out there and do your best.I love you.” she once told me.
Coach Asteria was born and raised in Bolivia, in a small city called Quillacollo. In 1968, she had her first National race in the city of Cochabamba. It was quite an adventure for her to get there. No one supported her except her dear father. Still in high school , she took a van, drove herself to Cochabamba and won the 100m title and set a new National Record in the Long Jump. That day marked the beginning of an incredible running career that has span for more than 45 years. Coach Asteria has won 8 Bolivian National Championships and 10 Venezuelan National Championships in Track and Field. Part of her young adult life, she lived in Venezuela. Unfortunately, by late 90’s, Venezuelan economy has dramatically worsen. Hugo Chavez’s presidency caused the economy to falter with extreme poverty, inflation, food shortage and governmental corruption.
In July 1995, Coach Asteria, represented Bolivia at the World Masters Championships in Buffalo, United States. Although, she had qualified for the Cross Country World event, she missed the competition because the Bolivian government failed to issues the visa on time. She reached United States on the day of the World Marathon event and without any training for long distance she participated and finished on 12th place.
She immigrated to United States in 1995 for a better life. In many ways, Coach Asteria’s and my beginnings in United States are very similar. We both moved here with nothing but a big heart and dream to create better opportunities for us and our families. It wasn’t easy for either of us, but somehow we made it. I think it’s the work ethic that we both grew up with and saw in our parents, the lovely people we have met along the journey, the passion to create a better life and ultimately the opportunities that this country offers to so many immigrants like us.
Both Coach Asteria and Coach Sid, have been coaching for New York Road Runners Club and Team For Kids since 2007. Here are few pictures from our weekly speed workouts. This summer we have been training at the River Bank Park in Harlem. Such a beautiful and friendly place. I absolutely love it!
Coach Sid with Sophia. I told Sophia she will be the next World Champion in Track and Field. She said “I know.” 🙂 ❤
We love you both and are so grateful for everything you do for us and the entire running community. Sincerely, Thank you Coaches!