Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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August 4, 2013

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Track coach, park board member — it’s all about giving back

GOSHEN — Giving back to his community is very important to Doug Yoder.

As the full-time head track coach at Goshen College for 10 years, he says he’s had a flexible schedule that allows him time for community service.

“I can do some of those things in the community,” Yoder said.

He’s been a board member of the Goshen Parks & Recreation Department for five years and participates with the Rieth 5K Training Runs held weekly from the first of June until the end of August for 4-year-olds up to 75-year-olds.

“I groom the trails and do the mowing for the Rieth Runs. I feel good about that and being able to give back,” he said. “The Runs are for all ages, all shapes and sizes. It’s about coming out to participate. We call them training runs. We want people to come out, run and enjoy the camaraderie with other people who run, as well.”

He enjoys using the trails himself and also glad other people can use them, as well.

“I feel fortunate that we have trails to be able to walk, ride or run,” he said, smiling.

For the past five years, Yoder has been the race director of the Maple Leaf Indoor Marathon held on the upstairs running track in the Roman Gingerich Rec/Fitness Center at Goshen College. He says the two-day indoor marathon consist of 204 laps and takes place in February.

“It’s one of top five indoor marathons in the nation. It’s a little well-kept secret here in Goshen,” Yoder said. “Eighty percent of the people who participate are not from this area. We have sell-out events and always fill up. We are nationally recognized.”

The marathon was established to give back and not make a profit to fund something here on campus, Yoder added

“Rather it’s to give back to other organizations and we’re fortunate to be able to do that,” he said.

All the proceeds go to local and regional charities, like the LaCasa’s Help-A-House program and a campership for the Hemophilia of Indiana, Inc., Camp Brave Eagle, a summer camp for children with bleeding disorders.

“My tie to that is that I am a hemophiliac myself. I have a bleeding disorder and my running has helped me strengthen my joints,” Yoder said. “I stayed away from contact sports (in his youth) but I can run.”

His schedule flexibility allows him time to enjoy and pursue some of his own interests, like art.

“I have my own art studio set up at home and I wanted to do that for years,” he said. “Now I’m able to do so.”

He was an art teacher at Goshen High School for 25 years in the art department before his tenure at Goshen College.

“I was the art department when I started and there were three of us (teachers) full-time when I left,” Yoder said. “I started a photography program and it took off, it exploded. I taught it full-time and it was the old-school darkroom and we developed photos.”

He also was the cross country coach and track coach for girls at Goshen High School 10 years ago.

The cross country coaching job opened up at Goshen College and decided to apply for it.

“I got it and switching jobs was scary. I was absolutely NOT unhappy teaching. In fact, that last year was the best year I ever had,” Yoder said. “I decided to change and made the jump to this (coach).”

Then for awhile, he was the athletic director of the Rec/Fitness Center and when the head track coach position came open, he applied for it and has been happy with his decision.

“The program was in pretty good shape but I’ve expanded the program,” he said.

He shared his words of advice about changing job positions.

“Keep your mind and heart open to where you are led and where you feel happy,” Yoder said.

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