NE Distance has a strong commitment to the development of post-collegiate athletes on a training path to elite-level competition. Many athletes graduating from college have only just begun to scratch the surface of their running potential - particularly those athletes who might excel at longer distances not contested in college - but continuing to train and compete outside the collegiate system can be challenging. NE Distance seeks to provide an opportunity for athletes to continue progressing within the sport, thereby allowing them to reach their full potential. By providing athletes with the resources necessary to train and compete at the elite level, and placing them in a supportive, team and community-oriented environment, NE Distance assists athletes as they transition from collegiate to professional competition.
NE Distance is dedicated to individualizing each athlete's experience, and helping them cultivate a lifestyle that will allow them to not only be successful in their athletic pursuits, but to also feel happy and fulfilled. As such, the NE Distance Elite Team currently offers two unique types of membership: Athletes-in-Residence and Community Ambassadors.
Since its inception in 2012, NE Distance has assisted its athletes with finding meaningful work in the communities within which they live, and in 2014 it established the Athlete-in-Residence (AIR) program. Through the program, each NE Distance AIR is paired up with a local middle school cross country or track & field team consisting of anywhere from 30 to 50 youth participants. The athlete then organizes and carries out a full season of competition for their team where their responsibilities include recruiting participants, coordinating with school and district administrations, coaching practice three times a week, and hosting bi-weekly competitions. In addition to receiving a modest coaching stipend, AIR athletes are provided with full support, including coaching, access to training facilities, housing, sports medicine, and travel and gear stipends.
In 2017, NE Distance expanded its Elite Team to include Community Ambassadors (CA) in addition to Athletes-in-Residence. NE Distance CAs are those athletes who want to continue training and competing at an elite level, but who also wish to pursue other ambitions, such as continuing their education with a masters degree or beginning their career with full-time employment. Community Ambassadors assist with the team's community outreach programs on a volunteer basis, and assist with additional organization and administrative duties as well. As members of the Elite Team, they receive coaching and access to training facilities in addition to assistance traveling to team competitions.