Runner’s High

For the past several years, Encinitas-based Junior Mavericks Running Club has met a need for youth in the local community. Junior Mavericks initially started as afterschool training sessions for individual athletes, turned into a summer running program, and eventually evolved into a USA Track and Field-sanctioned club geared toward developing skills and building confidence in elementary and middle school athletes. In addition to fundamental training, the club focuses on teamwork, positive spirit, and community involvement. “We work closely with the Boys & Girls Club by coordinating and producing the annual Moonlight Beach cross country race in the fall and their track and field program in the spring,” explained club founder and head coach Robin Missailidis. “We serve water at the San Diego Half Marathon at mile five in March. In February, we ride bikes at the YMCA Annual Giving Bike-a-thon, which raises money to help send kids to summer camp.”

Many Junior Mavericks athletes have gone on to have successful high school careers that resulted in college scholarships and other accomplishments. Club member Tyler Holl, for example, competed in the USATF Junior Olympic Regionals, where he qualified for the Junior Olympics. Younger Junior Mavericks club members also have the benefit of mentorship from college and high school athletes, such as those from nearby La Costa Canyon High School. “They like the camaraderie, friendships, and competition,” Robin said. For more information about the club go to