This morning I got an email from Road Runners with the subject line, “Don’t chase boys. Pass them!” That subject line really got me thinking about the girls I coach. For some of the girls on the team, one of running’s draws is that it’s a coed team. There were many 8:00 a.m. practices in the height of DC summer (read: HOT AND STICKY) that featured girls in full make-up and hair. Not to say that I’m not vain (I am) and wear make-up most times when I leave my house, but watching the girls chase after the boys makes me pause. I want the girls to want to beat the boys. Nothing makes me happier than watching our top girl runners beat the boys in races or at practice. Heck, when I’m in a race, I like to find a middle-aged man and blow past him. It’s very gratifying to see a man’s face when a tiny woman beats him soundly. Running is wonderful because it is one of the few sports where men and women can compete equally. Elite men will always be faster than women, but below the elite level, women and men compete side-by-side. This next season, that’s something that I hope to impart upon my female runners: don’t run for the boys. Run for the joy of beating them.