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Kisha Holloway(left) and LaShawn Moore became friends at Hampton High, but lost contact over the years. Their fates realigned at a running club meeting.

LaShawn Moore never attended the coaches’ meetings for the kids running clubs in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K.

She had coached the running club at Elizabeth D. Redd Elementary School in Richmond for a few years, but she was a single mom with a son, and she couldn’t find a babysitter.

That changed in September, when her boyfriend — who became her husband — kept her son while she went to a meeting.

Arriving a few minutes late, she scanned the room and saw someone she thought she knew. But it didn’t register as she signed in, put on a name tag, got herself situated and got some food.

Kisha Holloway, attending her first meeting, was getting acquainted with others when she also saw someone who looked familiar. Then she saw the name tag and realized it was Moore — her best friend from high school in Hampton whom she had lost touch with for about 17 years. She ran toward her screaming and hollering.

“She called my name and I turned around and I was like ‘Oh my God!’” Moore said. “And then I started crying. I was crying, ‘God loves me!’ Mind you this is happening at a coaches’ kickoff ... and I’m standing in the middle of the room crying, ‘God loves me!’

“It was just crazy. This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen.”

It was the second time Moore and Holloway have been brought together at an opportune time.

Almost 25 years ago, Holloway transferred to Hampton High as a ninth-grader. She didn’t know anybody but found a kindred spirit sitting next to her in science class in Moore, a military child seeking a consistent and trustworthy friend.

They became almost inseparable, running as sprinters on the track team, going to the mall, football games and amusement parks together, or just talking about the day’s occurrences.

“We were at a point in our lives when we just really, really needed someone,” Holloway said. “It wasn’t easy for either of us [growing up]. It just was God, fate, that brought us together, that transferred me into that school.”

Holloway’s mother was single. She worked hard and did a lot, Holloway said, but there were times they did without things. Holloway met her husband in high school, and when she wanted to impress his family but didn’t have a nice outfit to wear to church, Moore stepped in to help.

“She gave me one to wear,” Holloway said. “She just had my back, no matter what.”

Holloway transferred to Kecoughtan High in Hampton as a junior and Moore moved to Georgia to live with her father as a senior. They maintained some contact after Holloway got married and Moore came back to attend college at Old Dominion, but it became sporadic when Holloway, her husband and their family moved to the Washington area in 1999 because of his job.

They lost contact altogether when Holloway and her family moved to Florida in 2002.

Moore, who wasn’t on social media, stayed at ODU to get a master’s degree and started work on a doctorate. In 2013, she moved to Richmond to become a physical education teacher at Elizabeth D. Redd.

In her second year there, she started coaching the running club that is part of the Sports Backers’ Kids Run RVA, a charity partner of the 10K that supports more than 60 running clubs in schools and neighborhoods around Richmond. Moore took a year off last year while her son, who has autism, attended kindergarten. She returned to coaching this year.

Holloway and her family had moved to Richmond two years before Moore. She home-schools her 12-year-old daughter Kimora, the youngest of her six children.

Kimora wants to run races together, so Holloway approached Sports Backers and got the green light to coach a home school running group through the kids program.

The two coaches’ children went to the same dentist. They shopped at some of the same stores. But their paths didn’t cross — until that coaches’ club meeting in September.

“Sometimes people say, ‘Yeah, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time,’ ” Holloway said. “And we kind of look at them like, ‘You don’t get it.’ ”

Holloway said it seems as if no time has passed.

“One day she came over and we talked for a while, and when we stopped talking we just sat,” Holloway said. “Just to be in the same space, to know we were together, it was insane.”

They get together at least weekly now. They ride together to a fitness dance class that Holloway teaches. Sometimes Moore’s son stays with Holloway’s family during the class or comes over during the weekend.

“That’s helped out a lot,” Moore said “They’re very understanding, and their girls are very understanding.

“Now she and her husband are my son’s godparents. I was her oldest child’s godmother, so that’s always kind of weighed on me. I didn’t really know him as he grew up. I’m happy about that.”

Moore, who is leaving her job at Redd after this year, ran with her group of kids on Saturday.

With the parents of the home school kids on site, Holloway saw her group off for their one-mile run and ran the 10K for her 40th birthday.

“When I saw [LaShawn again], it was one of those where a lot of things were going wrong for me, maybe in friendship, or I’m trying to figure out myself. I was like in a defeated place,” Holloway said. “I found out about that run club meeting very last minute. I was late, I wasn’t going to go.

“I just felt like in that moment God was showing me how much he really loved me, because I needed a friend. I later found out she was at a place in her life where she needed a friend. It was the right time. I didn’t run into her at the dental office or at our favorite store because it wasn’t the right time.

“That was the right moment for us to see each other.”

tpearrell@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6965

@timpearrelltd

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