Former WPIAL director organizes P3R youth track event at RMU Island Sports Center

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Monday, August 1, 2022 | 4:15 AM


Put away the stopwatches.

Instead, athletes in grades 7-12 can get an exact, electronically measured time in the 40-yard dash, the mile and a few other popular distances at a youth track event Saturday on Neville Island. The festivities at the RMU Island Sports Center are hosted by race organizer P3R and its new director of youth programming Amy Scheuneman, the former executive director of the WPIAL.

The event is free and lasts from 9-11 a.m., but participants must register online by Thursday so organizers can divide runners into heats. The scheduled events include the 40-yard dash, 100 meters, 400 meters, 1 mile and 2 miles, along with 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays.

“It’s an opportunity for kids to gauge their summer training,” Scheuneman said. “They can say, ‘Hey, I’ve been training all summer for a 7-minute mile and I can time myself on this.’ Or those football players who are working on 40 times or 100 times, they can get a FAT time and put it on recruiting documents as opposed to a handheld 40 time that isn’t as accurate.”

Times will appear on milesplit.com.

“Any college recruiter could see, yes, this is a legit time,” she said.

The “Youth Move Day” is a new project for P3R, which hired Scheuneman in June. The races will be run at the P3R Track and Field Complex, which is part of the island sports center.

Scheuneman hopes the day draws a wide mix of athletes.

“The event is really not just for runners,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to gauge fitness at all levels and all sports.”

Scheuneman envisions the relay races as a team-building opportunity, especially among non-track teammates from other sports. If a school were to have eight soccer players or eight football players who all wanted to race, they could form two relay teams and go head to head with each running 400 or 800 meters.

“It’s an opportunity for team camaraderie,” she said.

Brooks is the event’s title sponsor and 20 pairs of running shoes will be given out randomly.

While the track events are for students in junior high and high school, kids 13 and under and their families can participate in “free-flowing fun field activities” being held at the same time. Among those “Kids of Steel” activities, youngsters can navigate an inflatable obstacle course, complete a hurdles challenge, learn karate moves and contribute to a collaborative art piece from “Pittsburgh Builds Bridges” artist Ebtehal Badawi.

“They’ll be doing activities on the infield while the older kids are running events on the track,” Scheuneman said. “They can cheer them on and stay engaged, and maybe running is a sport they’ll want to pursue in the future.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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