By: Doug Seites ‘10

Published on

Mike W running

Aquinas’ own men’s and women’s cross country and track coach, Mike Wojciakowski, has been recognized for his numerous contributions to the West Michigan running community. Coach Wojciakowski was given the 2012 Lifetime Contribution Award at the inaugural A.I.M. High Endurance Awards held this past November.

The A.I.M. High Endurance Awards were part of a benefit for Athletes In Motion, meant to celebrate the contributions of the dedicated members of the West Michigan endurance community. The awards recognized the race directors, volunteers, clubs, sponsors and participants who achieved their goals no matter the circumstance. At the event, Coach Wojciakowski was honored for his exceptional contributions to the endurance community over many years.

On top of his time coaching at Aquinas, Coach Wojciakowski gives his time to help the running community in a variety of ways. Coach Wojciakowski serves on the board of RunGR as the running coach. RunGR is a local running club with over 250 members. Some of these runners just began running with the hopes of completing a half-marathon while others are experienced runners looking for a way to stay in the loop. Coach Wojciakowski has built a great reputation in the local running community and is known for getting the best out of his athletes. But his dedication and desire to do the little things without needing recognition set him apart. “We wanted to highlight Woj for his tireless efforts with RunGR. Being a college coach, husband, and father is demanding enough, but Woj is somehow able to give time to RunGR,” said Kyle Cutler, Marketing Director on the volunteer board of RunGR.

Whether it is arriving early to set up cones every Saturday morning for a race or staying late to talk with group members, Coach Wojciakowski has selflessly worked to help the local running community. “What amazes me is that within the first few times of someone new coming to our group, he (Wojciakowski) has their name memorized and is talking to them to figure out what their goal is,” says Cutler. “We believe that Woj truly wants everyone to be their best and helps bring that out of everyone.”

Coach Wojciakowski serves on the board for the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run and has helped to make the downtown event a premier race in Michigan. He also has helped to develop a wellness sponsorship through the Bridge Run that connects companies with training resources with the goal of creating healthier employees. Along with his work with the Bridge Run, Coach Wojciakowski also brought the “Magic of the Mile” to the Grand Rapids area this past summer. This event provided a way for individuals of all abilities to get onto the track and run a hard mile under the lights.

Cutler provided one last thought about Coach Wojciakowski and what he does for the community. “We are just happy to have Woj recognized. Many do not see all of the hard work he puts in behind the scenes to help everyone achieve their goals. From filling water jugs, devising training programs, to marking running routes, he does all of this without ever wanting praise or recognition. He deserves these accolades and as odd as it is for someone so young to receive a ‘lifetime’ award, I think it speaks to his character.”