Alan Pearson, a little guy with a huge heart. He was one of the first athletes I was blessed to coach. My first coaching position was as a volunteer assistant with the Quick-Mode Squad a.k.a. Glasgow High School boys and girls indoor/outdoor track during Alan’s senior year. I soon came to learn of the mighty AP, as he was known. Alan was apart of a tremendous tradition at G-High started by Art Madric and continued with Alan Duncan, which includes, among other things, 2 indoor team championships for the boys, 7 for the girls team and 3 apiece outdoors. Throughout the history of the two programs, there have been many individual champions, county and state record holders, All-Americans, etc. etc. Alan ranks right up there with all of them. He is the current school record holder in the 800 with a respectable time of 1:57.
He ran that very time for his 800m leg on the current school record sprint medley that was run in North Carolina early in the 2003 spring season. I can still remember speaking to him before the race, telling him that that day was going to be the day he would break the 2 minute barrier for 800m. He told me he didn’t think so. “Maybe later in the season coach”, he told me. I told him, “Nah, today is the day!” He went on to split 1:57 and help his team to set the school sprint medley record that day and for the first time he realized that he could run with the best 800 runners in the state.
Alan was what I would call a “tough” runner. He ran more with his heart than his legs. He was the quintessential 800m runner, tough, strong, competitive, able to handle the pain and with just the right mix of speed and endurance for the event. However, he always wanted to be a sprinter. He always referred to himself as a sprinter, because he was on the 4x2 and 4x4. He had a friendly rivalry with one of his younger teammates, Brandon Bailey. During that entire season it was the 800 runner trying to run a faster split than the 200 runner in the 4x4 relay! Like everything in track, Alan wouldn’t give an inch. He had to be the fastest!
He was a coach’s dream. He did everything you asked, without questions and was a role model for the younger athletes. He was a quiet dude, but his work ethic and competitive nature spoke volumes! His ability to run at his absolute outer limit was inspiring for anyone who was around to see him compete. He always left everything on the track, nothing left in the tank.
Now AP is in a much different kind of competition, the fight against cancer. Of course cancer has won against millions of individuals, individuals physically much stronger than Alan, but Alan has the heart of a champion. He has faced superior challengers before and been victorious. He has toed the line on many occasions and finished in 1st. Though the challenger now is bigger and stronger and graver than any he has faced before, he has family, friends, the Quick-Mode squad family and others praying for him.
He is currently in the hospital, ravaged by cancer. He is partially blind and deaf. His body is weak and he weighs about 50 lbs. He can speak a little, but not much. The pain medicine makes him incoherent. Alan, if you can hear me, you can pull through this. You’re stronger than you realize. You can do it! Today is the day!