I decided to give Marathon Kids a chance. I had done my own version of it in the 90's and early 2000's called Marathoner, so I signed up and got it going in December. The first day, I had one student, a first grade boy. I ran with him to measure a mile using my Fitbit app. It's 18 laps to make a mile, so after each lap a student runs, they get a piece of a plastic straw to help keep track of laps. When they are done, I record the number of straws (laps) they have and convert it to mileage. The first 18 to reach 26.2 miles receive a t-shirt from Marathon Kids.
Last Friday (2-2-2018), I had 65 runners and in 15 minutes, we handed out 814 straws! That's over 45 miles they ran in fifteen minutes! What a surprise! I've had to load up on straws and recruit staff to help me hand them out and monitor the crowd! Most of these students are in first or second grade, with the third and fourth grade starting to join in the fun! I had no idea this would be so popular, but during the sub-zero cold and weeks of indoor recess, it's nice to offer students a chance to begin their day with aerobic activity! I'd submit a photo, but I haven't had a chance to take one. There were too many straws in my hands!
How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?
I will continue this activity throughout this school year as well as next year (and then I'm retiring!) In the Spring, I will see if we can take it outside. I have put the word out to staff and parents for volunteers, so hopefully someone will continue this for years to come.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was getting started. The students run from 7:45-8:00, so I am giving up my prep time (I have no breaks but lunch on one of the days), so I sort of drug my feet, then I broke a toe and really drug my feet! Once I got started, I tried to keep it simple so I could keep it up. It got so big so fast that I am glad I've kept it simple. That should help to sustain it and recruit help.
What improvements have you seen at your school?
So far, it has been great just hearing the excitement with the students that participate. I have been told by staff that they are looking for me on the days I am not there because they want to run (and they are too young to understand schedules very well). We have had several weeks of very cold temps, so it has helped students get ready to learn by offering an aerobic activity at the start of the day.