John Habib's Track & Field: 'If Coby can do it, so can I'
Manchester Central High School cross country co-coach Coby Jacobus, second from right, talks to the 2010 team including, Sam Gagnon, left, Sean Brown, and Ryan McHugh, right, during practice at Derryfield Park in Manchester . (UNION LEADER FILE)
First, a little recent history.
It was only five years ago that Jacobus was diagnosed with renal failure and desperately needed a kidney, which he received from his father. Basically, he got a second chance.
A coach who got a second chance.
Jacobus, a native of Simsbury, Conn., was born with a passion to run. In high school one season he was second in the state in the steeplechase and placed eighth in the two-mile event. He attended Marist College for two seasons before transferring to the University of New Hampshire, where he ran two seasons for head coach Jim Boulanger's program as a walk-on.
"I felt crappy and at first I thought it was something simple like not getting enough nutrition or sleep," said Jacobus. "But it sunk in when the tests revealed I needed an organ transplant or face the option of being on dialysis."
"They were the driving forces I needed to get me through that tough stretch," said Jacobus. "My mom and wife did all the research on kidney transplants and fortunately they learned Mass. General Hospital had a great reputation for those type of surgeries."
"That was depressing, driving into Boston knowing I couldn't run in the marathon with my friends," said Jacobus. "Instead I had to go the hospital and take care of my problem."
Now, he is featured in a Dick's Sporting Goods advertisement about inspirational athletes. Jacobus is part of the "Run For" series featuring runners' stories about the reasons they run.
At Central, Jacobus has applied his own experience of overcoming his adversity to his coaching job in hopes of bringing out the best in his athletes.
Entering the cross country season in the fall of 2010, Jacobus heard Lafond had transferred from Trinity to Central.
Jacobus revealed a little of the conversation he had with Lafond recently.
"I want my runners to understand that if they want something bad enough, they can attain it," said Jacobus. "You know, if Coby can do it, so can I. That's the message that hit home to Dylan and I hope it for many others who have the love for running that I've always had since I was a kid."
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