People Taking Action: Virginia Beach man has the spark that fuels marathoners to run for charity

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It was nothing but a sea of purple near the corner of Great Neck Road and Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.

That "sea" is really members of Team in Training, a nonprofit that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Most are runners, some are triathetes - all taking part in events to raise money to help people fight cancer.

Their coach and mentor? Bob Schniedwind.

“He is so special to us. He takes care of us, 19-degree weather, hot humid weather - he’s out here no matter what. We can make excuses; he makes no excuses. He’s always here," said marathoner Cindy Young.

He’s coached the team for 20 years and is more than a running coach.

The veteran-turned-coach married marathoners Rose and Mike.

“He not only married us but his wife, Susan, did our flowers. They’re like family now to us," said Rose.

Coach Bob thinks he’s meeting here for an impromptu training session, but his pals in purple had something else in mind.

A crowd of about 40 people in purple stood on the side of the road waiting for Coach Bob.

These rowdy runners spotted their lively leader across the street, and he seemed a little confused about all the cheering.

But he finally made his way across Great Neck road to his friends and fans.

“Coach Bob is out here every Saturday with us to make sure we get our long-train runs down at First Landing State Park or the [Great] Dismal Swamp," according to Cindy, who nominated Bob. “He truly cares about those of us running and those of us we are running for.”

And for that, News 3 presented the dedicated coach with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

“I’m completely floored, I’m flabbergasted. I’m shocked," said Schniedwind.

But he couldn't focus all that attention on himself.

“Can I turn this into a donation in some way?" he asked.

The answer? Of course he can!

I even got a hug from the coach, which I’m told is good luck!