Prep Track and Field

Xavier coach Bridget Lemker finds love of running at early age

HS journalism: Math teacher helps with cross-country and track when time allows

Bridget Lemker of Cedar Rapids approaches the finish line Sunday of the 5K race at the 1997 “Especially for You” race against breast cancer in Cedar Rapids. Lemker, a match teacher at Xavier High School, won the race in 19:21. (The Gazette)
Bridget Lemker of Cedar Rapids approaches the finish line Sunday of the 5K race at the 1997 “Especially for You” race against breast cancer in Cedar Rapids. Lemker, a match teacher at Xavier High School, won the race in 19:21. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Bring yourself back to the fifth grade and the yearly mile run.

Many students realize they detest running during the time in takes to complete the task.

Others, like Bridget Lemker found a love of running in those first few steps of that elementary school mile run. This mile run sparked a lifetime love of the sport, spanning a high school and college career and now extending into coaching.

“I noticed running the mile in elementary that I was always way in front of the other kids,” said Lemker, a math teacher at Cedar Rapids Xavier and a cross country coach. “My P.E. coach advised I get involved in road races and stuff like that, so I did.”

Running is a very popular hobby throughout the world and can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Although some may question the enjoyment one can get out of running for three miles straight — or more — there are many aspects to running that someone can enjoy, especially in a team environment.

Lemker ran in college at Wartburg and formed lifelong friendships there.

“I made my best friends through running, and I still am very close to all of them,” Lemker said. “Running is more than just a sport.”

With Lemker already having worked with many of the cross-country girls as the assistant coach, she is already familiar with many of the long distance track runners as the track season begins. Often long distance track runners, and cross country runners, do both sports because of the similarity. For this reason, Lemker was eager to be around the girls she coached this past fall.

Head track and cross country coach Bryan Jones is eager to have her back.

“I want her on full time, but it’s nice to have her run with us every so often,” Jones said. “All of the girls already love her after working with them on the cross-country team. I know she has a lot of qualities that can help the team, and we can’t wait for the season to get started.”

Lemker, who blames her schedule with preventing her from coaching full time, will continue to run with the girls whenever she can. Track season is up and running, with practices having been underway for several weeks now. The Saints are back in action next Tuesday at the Iowa City West Invitational.

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