Mountaintop native and Crestwood graduate, Robert Moulton is an accomplished runner, having achieved record setting finishes in several October races, such as the Back Mountain Catholic Youth 5k, the King’s College Palermo 5k Memorial and the Kelci Gibbons Memorial Trail 6K Run in Francis Slocum. Now, Rob is passing along his expertise and wisdom to a new generation of athletes as head Cross Country and Track and Field coach at Crestwood High School
A math teacher at Tamaqua Area High School, Rob is in his 6th year as a coach in the Crestwood program, having taken over as head coach two years ago from his predecessor, Fran Goth. The Crestwood teams finished about mid pack this season with quite a few personal best records set by individual students. Rob remarks that he would like to see that improve, and has drawn on both his own experiences as a runner and what he learned from Goth to instill in his student athletes the life lessons that he says running can provide, such as working hard and trying your best in every situation.
“Every single race and day you train is different, whether it is raining, snowing, cold, hot, or just a day you don’t feel like running,” explains Rob. “Life is going to be similar and you just have to push through it and be the best you that you can be. “
Rob has been running practically his entire life as it was incorporated into other sports, like soccer, from an early age and started running as a sport around the age of 12. His mom, Maria, had competed in the Olympic trials in 1996 in Atlanta for Speed Walking and he began to run with her in seventh grade. His proudest accomplishments include breaking the 15-minute mark in a recent personal best of 14:53 for a 3-mile race. He is also very proud of his time of 26:09 in an 8k race during Regional competition at Lehigh University during his senior year at King’s College.
“Both my parents enjoyed running a lot” says Rob. “Dad coached my soccer teams and always made us run sprints at practice.”
Rob relates he enjoys the competitiveness of running, both against others and against himself. He points out that one gets out of running what they put into it, and as a coach that is what he tries to instill in his student athletes, meeting them where they are and helping them meet the goals they set for themselves.
“You are always out there trying to set goals and beat your best time,” he says. “Regardless of what your teammates do, there are always personal goals that you can set for yourself and work as hard as you can to achieve.”
Rob says that it is being in the position to push students to be the best they can be is the most rewarding part about coaching. He explains that he tries to work as hard as he can on his own personal goals in order to set a good example for his students and develop not only their times, but the attributes of hard work and dedication as well.
“We have a nice core of kids,” said Rob. “The most important thing is to accept the students for who they are and we help them get wherever they want to be.” It’s rewarding because you get tot push the kids and help them set goals and develop a love for running.”
While Rob does not have any specific race goals for himself at this time, his overall goal is to continue running and continue improving his times and his aptitude at the sport. He has similar goals for the Crestwood Track and Cross Country programs. He is optimistic for the students he has returning in the spring and next fall.
“Our runners have a lot of potential. I would like to see them build on their skills,” adds Rob.
However, as is true of most good coaches, Rob has loftier goals for his athletes, and those goals have little to do with hurdles, starting blocks or the clock, and more to do with perseverance, doing your best and supporting each other.
“I want them to learn to be good people and to support each other and the community. I want them to realize that in this sport, its all on you –the work you put in pays off, and If you want to be the best, you train every day and continue to get better –as a runner and as a person,” concludes Rob.