Running changed coach Manuel Castellanos’ life as a kid; it gave him an outlet, helped him lose weight and taught him to set goals. Fast forward 20 years, and you’ll find Castellanos paying forward the power of the run to the kids he coaches. In honor of his passion for the sport and dedication to helping kids grow, today Brooks Running Company crowned Castellanos the Brooks 2015 Inspiring Coach of the Year.
After returning to his hometown of San Fernando, Calif., to begin his teaching and coaching career, Castellanos constructed a support system for Lakeview Charter High School students, making it his mission to create a meaningful place that fostered goal-setting and teamwork through running. By giving students a positive after-school outlet, Castellanos hoped he could help keep kids away from the gang activity he witnessed growing up in the area. His efforts made him a standout for the Brooks’ annual Inspiring Coach of the Year award, which recognizes a coach who goes above and beyond the call of duty to inspire young runners to push themselves to new heights and who creates a lasting difference in their community.
In honor of winning the 2015 Inspiring Coach of the Year Award, Castellanos and his Lakeview team will receive $10,000 in Brooks performance running gear for his team and $2,500 cash to use for team expenses. Castellanos will also become a member of the Brooks Inspire Daily program comprised of coaches and elite runners, and he’ll take home the coveted golden spike trophy.
Expanding the program in 2015 to include Canada, Brooks chose Castellanos from a group of 13 finalists who were whittled down from more than 1,500 nominations sent by current and former athletes, parents, fellow coaches, colleagues and community members. During the month of May, runners voted on Brooks’ Facebook page for the finalist they thought should win, and a panel of Brooks employees considered those votes and the nominations when selecting this year’s winner. Each finalist received $5,000 in Brooks performance running gear for his or her team and $500 cash for team expenses, as well as membership to Brooks’ Inspire Daily program.
Coach Castellanos joins the ranks of last year’s winner Renee Williams-Smith of Mira Costa High School and past winners Justin Torres, Paul Raley and Amy Pitzel, all of whom contribute in exceptional ways to a sport environment that develops young runners athletically, academically and personally.