My Name is Noella Klawitter, and I am a visually impaired Paralympian who has represented Canada at multiple international events. I am writing to you about my coach, Paula Wiltse.
You see, since my retirement from high-performance sport, I have struggled. I found transitioning out of competition gut-wrenching and even chose to cease and desist from any running at all. I moved to Brockville, Ontario, Canada in 2015. Last year, I reached out to a local running group, Reason to Run, and my life in sport changed forever. At the time, my only hope for continued involvement in the sport was to reintegrate into recreational running. Instead, because of Paula, I reconnected with my love of running.
Under the guidance and inspiration of our coach, Paula Wiltse, this diverse group of women trains together with no judgment of each others’ varying levels of athleticism. Paula’s 10 km personal record is 33 minutes 35 seconds. She has broken the Canadian record for marathon in the 50 – 54 age group; additionally, she has won multiple national titles and other Canadian records. Although she is a highly accomplished runner, Paula is modest.
As if Paula’s incredible running ability and outstanding athletic performance weren’t enough, Paula dedicates herself to coaching a group of people of all shapes, sizes, and speeds. Paula changes people’s lives by empowering them through active living. Our group faithfully trains 3 days a week, and all members had a summer of personal bests this year. Paula’s words of wisdom echo through our minds as we train for the betterment of our abilities
Paula is also a social media guru and often promotes our team, individual achievements, and her sponsors on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. In total, our team has thousands of followers on many social sites.
During my athletic career, I have worked with many International and National Paralympic/Olympic coaches, and although each one of them had amazing talents and abilities, no one comes close to Paula. Paula epitomizes the essence of a good coach. She practices non-judgment and empowerment of her athletes.
My life, as well as the lives of many in the Brockville community, has been changed for the better because of Paula Wiltse, and she deserves to be recognized for her outstanding contributions. Paula inspires fitness goal-attainment, physical and mental well-being, and she breeds a spirit of competitiveness in her runners. She picks us up when we are down after having a bad race, and she celebrates with us during successes.
Brockville is an amazing town, with many avid sport enthusiasts, but I believe Paula’s accomplishments this year need to be celebrated. PAULA BROKE A CANADIAN RECORD this year. Paula, from Brockville, is the fastest Canadian marathoner age 50 – 54 EVER in the history of this country. She accomplished this whilst coaching and helping many other people to their goals. Brockville has a lot to be proud of – and Paula Wiltse is definitely one!