SophiaMarathon

Team for Kids coach Andrew Wint cheers on his athletes in Clinton Hill. Photo by Sophia Soloway

Andrew Wint, 39, of Harlem, stood on Lafayette Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, on Sunday as the New York City Marathon runners rushed by. He scoured the crowd searching for those wearing neon-yellow jerseys matching the one he wore.

“I have 90 plus athletes who I’m trying to get across the finish line today,” he said.

Wint is a coach for Team for Kids, an organization that raises money for running programs for inner-city youth. Their slogan, which is written across the back of Wint’s jersey, is “Giving Youth a Running Start.”

“Most schools don’t have athletic programs,” Wint said. “And it’s such an important program to have in a school because if you have someone who doesn’t have a lot of confidence in themselves, sports is one of the best ways to bring it out in them.”

He feels that exercising improves more than just physical condition.

“Running fosters discipline and focus — it will help them in their school work,” he said. “Training as a runner makes you work harder and worry less because you know that if you try really hard at something, you can succeed at it.”

Team for Kids runners train every weekend, and whatever physical exercise they missed out on during the school day is made up for during these sessions.

Wint takes pride in the rigorousness of the program.

“It’s one of the best,” he said. “We train them like professional athletes.”

He noticed some yellow jerseys run by.

“There’s some of my athletes,” he said excitedly.

He jogged to catch up with them and ran beside them for a few minutes, shouting words of encouragement.

“My job is to help them through the race,” he said.

When Wint is not coaching for Team for Kids, he is training as a competitive triathlete.

“I wish I was out there running today,” he said, watching the panting, rosy-cheeked marathoners rush by. “But it feels better to help them get across the line than to get across myself. I’ll be here until the last one gets across the finish line, no matter how long it takes.”