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Photo submitted by Jason Watson

Coach Jason Watson and his wife Dr. Haley Watson after they finished the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.

Teachers test their limits

November 30, 2021

A number of teachers on the campus run marathons and participate in other athletic competitions. Assistant golf coach Jason Watson, along with swim coaches Greg McLain and John Dissinger have recently competed in big events and are training for more.

Coach+Jason+Watson+and+his+wife+Dr.+Haley+Watson+after+they+finished+the+Boston+Marathon+on+Oct.+11.+

Photo submitted by Jason Watson

Coach Jason Watson and his wife Dr. Haley Watson after they finished the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.

Watson runs personal best in Boston Marathon

Boston had been waiting for its world-famous marathon to come back since 2019. The morning of the competition, there was a crowd standing by ready to cheer on the runners and their loved ones. Golf coach Jason Watson and his wife were among the crowd with their shoes laced and ready to race.

“The course experience and the crowds were fantastic,” Watson said. “Boston was glad to have their marathon back after a long layoff from COVID. It was a very electric atmosphere.”

After taking the bus to Hopkinton State Park for the start, Watson and his wife were lined up and ready to run. Watson crossed the start line at 9:08 a.m.

“My first goal was to finish and the second goal was to break three hours which I did once before and on a perfect day,” Watson said. 

He knew it would not be easy on the course set up in Boston, however.

“It was a very hilly course, we don’t have a lot of hills to train on here,” Watson said. “I think we went three or four times to drive and find some hills but it’s a very hilly and very difficult course. I guess that’s how it’s different from every marathon I’ve done.”

Originally, Watson started running to lose weight because he struggled with back and knee pain. After he started running, he realized he was losing weight and as a result the pain stopped hurting. After about two to three years of running, he decided to run in his first marathon and the rest is history.

This year’s Boston Marathon was his 8th marathon. He finished in a time of 2:56.27.

“I set a personal best,” he said. “It’s the fastest I have ever run a marathon which at 46 years old, I’m pretty happy with.”

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Photo submitted by Greg McLain

Greg McLain stands with his bike after the Iron Man 70.3 World Championship.

Health goals inspire swim coaches

Within a year of each other, coaches John Dissinger and Greg McLain started a training regimen to help them achieve their goals for healthier lifestyles. Both men have found their own individual niches in terms of exercise type, but one thing is similar — their drive.

“I was pretty unhealthy. I didn’t exercise, I didn’t eat right, I was overweight. Overall, living a pretty unhealthy life,” McLain said. “Now, I train every day, about two to three hours a day depending on the time and the season. A byproduct of that is eating better. Eating was never the goal but it was a byproduct of training.”

John Dissinger celebrates after he won the national championship in an open water swim event. (Photo submitted by John Dissinger)

In May 2018, McLain started training for his first IronMan. After only training for six weeks, he did a sprint IronMan in Katy. 

“It was tough, it showed me how far I had to go,” McLain said. “It motivated me to keep going.”

In 2019, Dissinger started training for open water swim meets. When he started, he knew he didn’t want to do meets but he just wanted to race again.

“[When I first started] I set a goal to do the Alcatraz swim and it got canceled from COVID,” Dissinger said. “I found other races to do. Hopefully soon I can do Alcatraz like I wanted.”

The coaches find time each day to train for their events; and in March 2022, the two will both be competing in the Lake Longhorn Splash and Dash. 

“Every race is a struggle at some point,” McLain said. “There comes a point where you ask yourself, ‘Why did you decide to do this?’ 

“You have to fight through that. By the time that you reach the finish line, you are happy you did it and you can’t wait to do another one. I just think back to Coach Dissinger and his greatness, which motivates me to finish.”

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