I started up a running club this week. I was hoping to get kids at my school excited about running.
I tried it last year but didn’t have much success with it. I wanted it to be something that everyone could come out to. I designed a small loop in which we could run laps around the schoolyard. This way kids from any grade could run and we could all be together. It seemed like a good idea. But the students weren’t excited or motivated to run. Some would come out but they would give up after only a lap or two. I tried it for two months, hoping that interest would pick up, but it didn’t.
This year I knew that I needed to make a major change to get the kids interested in running. I thought back to when I got excited about running. It was middle school. I remember the teacher there designed about a half dozen different courses around the schoolyard. He made a map and drew the courses out. He gave them clever names such as The Brown Breezer and The Blue Blazer. I remember how much fun I used to have running those courses.
So I borrowed his idea and made up eight courses. I designed courses that range for 100 metres all the way up to a kilometer. I drew up a nice colour-coded map and gave each course a catchy name. I had to name one of them “The Brown Breezer” in tribute to my old cross-country coach and gym teacher.
The Running Club meets after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first day this week, I had a modest eight runners. But they were all excited about the courses and wanted to tackle the longest one right away. We had a good first meet.
Last night however, I had 20 runners come out. It was great. I couldn’t believe that I had gotten such a good turn out. I had Grade 2 students all the way up to Grade 8 students running.
I think having the courses with set distances and keeping track of time is what the students really need to stay motivated from the starting line to the finish.
It was so great to have that many kids running last night. It was the highpoint of my week. I hope this is the start of a new era for my school.