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When They Played: L-P cross country/girls track coach John Beatty

Beatty continued to run after successful high school, college careers

La Salle-Peru cross country and girls track and field coach John Beatty (front row, far right) had a successful running career at Conant High School and Oakton and Harper colleges.
La Salle-Peru cross country and girls track and field coach John Beatty (front row, far right) had a successful running career at Conant High School and Oakton and Harper colleges.

Long before he became a teacher and girls track and field and cross country coach at La Salle-Peru, John Beatty had an affinity for La Salle County.

While a runner at J.B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Beatty’s coach, Jack Ary, took the team on a yearly camping trip in Utica where the team would run in the Oglesby Dannon 10K.

“That is where I fell in love with La Salle County,” said Beatty, who will coach the L-P boys team and girls runner Brianna Pijanowski in the Class 2A Chicago Latin Sectional on Saturday. “My father also came on these trips to help. I now take my team on two campouts a year — one in Sheridan and the other in Chillicothe.”

Beatty credited his father, Robert, and high school coach, Jack Ary, for helping him achieve the success he did as a runner.

“My father got me to practice and encouraged me when things were hard,” Beatty said. “My coach and father helped me to see what I was capable of doing when I did not know what I could do.”

At Conant, Beatty had success individually while the Cougars had plenty of success as a team as well.

The team placed 12th at the IHSA State Meet in 1982 followed by a third-place finish in 1983, a fourth-place finish in 1984 and another third-place trophy in 1985.

Beatty was the fifth runner on the team at the state meet in 1985. His best 3-mile time in high school was a 15:23.

After high school, Beatty went on to run at Oakton Community College and Harper College.

Beatty helped his teams win back-to-back Skyway Conference championships. He was an NJCAA National Meet qualifier in cross country and placed second in the 10,000-meter steeplechase at the region meet. Beatty’s best 10K time in college was a 33:34.

Beatty has continued his running career post college by competing in road races, marathons and ultramarathons.

He’s won many races and age group titles, including the Chicago 50/50 31K and 50-mile events. He’s run 100 miles and record a best marathon time of 2:45.

Beatty said he has told his athletes stories from his running career.

“I keep telling them the same old stories,” Beatty joked. “They seem to like the stories, unless they heard them too many times, and seem impressed by my accomplishments.”

Beatty doesn’t just tell stories to tell stories. He uses anecdotes from his career to help his athletes, and he’s coached them to plenty of success.

During his tenure at L-P, Beatty has won two boys regional cross country titles, one girls regional cross country championship and one girls track and field sectional plaque while having a girls cross country team qualify for state.

Beatty has also coached seven girls track and field individual medalists and three relay medalists, four girls cross country medalists and one boys cross country medalist while sending multiple athletes on to NCAA Division I careers.

“Yes, all the time,” Beatty said when asked if he uses examples from his career in his coaching. “The things I did right. The things I did wrong. I try to help them from all my experiences.”

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