Who We Are

How it all Started

Many years ago, my family and I were asked to run a 5k race to support a cause that was important to them.  That 5k race was enough to hook my kids on running! We then began our search for a youth running program, but we were surprised that there was nothing available for kids in elementary or middle school in Forsyth or any of the surrounding counties.  It was out of a desire to train my own kids and to spread the sport of running to the youth in the community, that Gotta Run Kids was born.  We started with a group at First Redeemer Church (aptly named Redeemer Runners) of about 40 kids - which was way more than we had anticipated - and today, over a decade later, our group size has doubled and we have added to our programs. It is an absolute honor to be a part of training the kids that come into our program.  We are continually blessed by the personal stories of success and are also extremely proud to see the huge gains each child makes from the beginning to the end of the session. 
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Meet The Coaches!

Coach Greg Patterson

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Coach Greg Patterson was born and raised in South Africa and immigrated to the U.S. in December 1999. He has been married for 27 years and he has lived together with his wife and their 4 children in Cumming for the past 18 years. He is a certified USATF Level I running coach, as well as a Certified Sports Administrator. He has also spent many years coaching soccer. He has coached his own children, who were all successful runners in middle and high school. All of his children ran all four years of their high school careers on the varsity team and three of them went on to run at the collegiate level. 
Coach Greg has a passion for the sport of running and he has run many marathons including the Comrades 56-mile ultra Marathon. He is currently involved in coaching children in both group and private settings. Among his achievements are several Forsyth County titles; 1600m and 800m championship win in 2013 (boys), 2014 (girls), 2015 (girls), 2017 (girls). In 2020, the boys' cross country team won the MS State Championship and the girls were the Runners-up. Most recently, in the Fall of 2021 and 2022, the boys' and girls' teams both won the coveted State Championship titles. This past year he was able to give back to South Forsyth HS and assisted the girls achieve a 3rd place podium finish at the GHSA Cross County State Championship.

Many of his athletes have progressed to the Sectional and State level in their early high school running careers. In recent years, several Great Strides alumni have earned a spot on the podium at the GHSA State XC meet - and even an individual State Champ title!

Coach Greg's passion may have begun with coaching his own children, but today he continues his love for the sport through coaching the kids at GRK. Coach Greg feels that he is able to put his faith into action by simply showing the kids how much he cares about each and every one of them!


 

Coach Lucas Roof

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Long-distance running is a major part of Coach Lucas Roof’s life. He and his family go on runs together on a regular basis in various locations. His wife (Coach Miranda Roof), his daughter Lila, and he enjoy the adventure of running somewhere new!

Coach Lucas graduated from Fannin County High School in 2000. He then obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and mathematics education from the University of Georgia (UGA) and received a master’s degree in educational psychology from UGA. He used his education at UGA to become a mathematics teacher at Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, GA where he also coached cross country and track & field. When Lucas coached cross country at Forsyth Central High School he helped lead and mentor multiple runners to personal best times, top-10 state rankings, and college scholarships. However, the most important part of his coaching stint is that he turned many high-school kids onto the sport of running that may have never grown to appreciate this amazing sport!

Although Coach Lucas participated in cross country while in high school, he did not fall in love with the sport of long-distance running or realize he had a talent for long-distance running until later on in life when he was coaching at Forsyth Central High School. Since that point, Coach Lucas has competed in many races including 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and marathons. He ran his best 5K at the age of 40 with a time of 16:57.

In 2014, Coach Lucas and his family moved to Fannin County where he currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent for the Fannin County School System and is currently in the process of obtaining his doctorate degree from UGA. While in Fannin County, Coach Lucas helps his wife, Coach Miranda, start a successful running club at West Fannin Elementary School. He now assists Coach Miranda with coaching the long-distance runners on the Fannin County High School Track & Field team. In the spring of 2022, he helped coach a boy and a girl to medaling performances at the GHSA State Championships. This was the first time that a long-distance runner in Fannin County made the podium at the state championships in over a decade. He also trains and mentors middle-school and high-school runners during the off-season. His favorite part about coaching continues to be showing the athletes how exciting and rewarding long-distance running can truly be!

Coach Lucas is extremely honored and excited to begin this journey of coaching with Gotta Run Kids. He cannot wait to help a new group of runners unlock their potential, be better than they were yesterday, and have fun!
 

Coach Miranda Roof

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Coach Miranda Roof has been in education for 23 years. Within those 23 years, she has taught all grade levels and academic areas K-5 and Physical Education 9th-12th. She graduated from the University of Georgia. She has her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Early Childhood and graduate degree in Early Childhood. She also has her K-12  Health and Physical Education Certification. She is currently teaching 9th-12th Physical Education at Fannin County
High school (FCHS), where she is the FCHS Track & Field Head Coach. She is also the strength and conditioning coach for FCHS Football and Basketball Cheerleading squads. As an elementary teacher, she started the 3rd-5th grade running club at West Fannin Elementary and soon after helped assist in starting the 3rd-5th grade running clubs at East Fannin Elementary and Blue Ridge Elementary. For several years, she served as a coach for Girls on the Run. She sees the benefits of running at all ages and in all aspects of life, which is why she has such a passion and love for running.

As the FCHS Track & Field coach, she led both the girls and boys teams to second place region finishes. She led over 20 athletes to sectionals. 11 of those athletes qualified for state, and 10 of those athletes made the podium at state by placing among the top eight. In her spare time,she helps train several middle school and varsity female and male cross country runners. Many of these runners have broken high-school and middle-school records in Fannin County and made the podium at state.

Beyond training several athletes, Coach Miranda, trains with her husband Lucas  and nine-year-old daughter Lila Roof. As a family, the Roofs continue to enter 5K races. In many of the races, Coach Miranda , Coach Lucas, and Lila either win or come in 1st in their age groups. Coach Miranda  has also run in several half marathons.

Coach Miranda is extremely excited, honored, and blessed to be a part of this well-established and successful running program (GRK)! She cannot wait to share her joy for running with these young athletes and hopefully inspire each one to work hard and be better than the day before.

Testimonials
 

★★★★★

Gotta Run Kids and Great Strides have been a life changing experience for both of my kids. My son participated in Great Strides and Gotta Run Kids from 6th - 8th Grade.  From his first time meeting Coach Patterson he has said that Coach was his favorite adult. Coach has a way of bringing out the very best in the kids - he encourages hard work, team work, friendship and leadership.  My son's passion for running started to blossom on that very first day of Gotta Run Kids and now he is running on his High School cross country team and hoping to continue his passion through college.  I credit Coach Patterson for instilling in him the self confidence that he so desperately needed as a young adult to drive his passion for running. My daughter participated in all kinds of sports and she finally joined Gotta Run Kids for the winter session her 8th Grade year - I am not kidding but after that first session she gave up all other sports and decided to pursue cross country running and she has been running on her High School cross country team ever since. She recently had to write an essay on her college applications about a community leader who impacted her - she wrote about Coach Patterson. I highly recommend both Gotta Run Kids and Great Strides - it has been an experience our whole family will never ever forget.
- Heather L.

★★★★★

Signing up with Gotta Run Kids when our son was nine is among one of the best decisions we have made. Every experience from Gotta Run Kids group lessons to private lessons with Coach Patterson to Great Strides Cross Country team has been nothing less than fantastic. Coach Greg Patterson’s coaching skill, dedication, and ability to draw the most out of his runners is unmatched. He is extremely knowledgeable about the sport of running, a positive and inspiring motivator of the children who run under him, and an incredible person. Yet with all these attributes, he is a humble godly man focused on sportsmanship and teamwork. His methods and personal example propel these kids to achieve their goals and reach their potential while building their inner strength and confidence. Coach Patterson really cares for his runners. He has his eye on every kid running with him and is looking out for their personal needs.  Our son has grown both emotionally and physically under Coach Patterson‘s leadership. Coach Greg Patterson is one of those people God puts in your life to bless you and we have been richly blessed.
- Robert and Jan S

★★★★★

Alisha was a reluctant runner.  When she first joined GRK less than a year ago, she felt she was in the slowest running group.  Everybody seemed so much faster than her!  But Coach Greg made running fun and encouraged her to keep going.  She didn’t think she could run a 5K, but shocked herself when she finished her first 5K as one of the top 10 GRK girls! Now, as part of the Great Strides team, she has found an extra gear in her she didn’t know she had, and she thrives on the competition.  Coach Greg sets high expectations for everyone — he wants the best out of all his runners, and he gets it.  Alisha wants to run faster, finish higher, and score for the team.  Yet, there is a great fun atmosphere on the team.  Everyone cheers and roots for every runner.  Each week, Coach Greg showcases the accomplishments of one of the runners, so that everyone feels a cherished part of the team.  Alisha has made good friends, and running buddies, on the team.  We only wish we had started sooner with the program and could continue with the program longer into high school.  We highly recommend Coach Greg and the GRK/GS Team.
- Leena S