We are going to share inspiring experiences from members of our tribe that are involved with community programs that use running as a method to positively impact lives.
I hope for these experiences to be a little spark that permits us to think of how we can get involved with our local communities, create a positive impact, and enrich our own lives in the process. Win – Win!
Texan, Alicia Loran, adds additional inspiration to our series by sharing her involvement with Marathon Kids and the creation of the PEACH Pacers Running Club.
As much as I love running, I think it is also just as important to share it with others that haven’t found it yet. Since we homeschool and don’t have an allotted time for PE, I decided to take it upon myself to get together a running group for homeschool kids. I had gotten the idea when one of my friends who attends a public school in the area was telling me about her son’s involvement with a running club at school. So this year we have started the PEACH Pacers running group. I really had no idea what I was going to do going into it, or what the turnout might be, but I thought we would give it a shot and see how it went. We started in September and meet every other Monday at a local park. Right now we have 23 homeschool students that are coming. We normally will do some type of warm up with stretches or a game and then get to running. There are two laps around our park. One is 1 mile and the other is 1/2 mile so the kids can choose which laps they want to do for the day. We have a parent handing out straws as they come in on each lap so they don’t have to keep count. It has been truly amazing to watch these kids. The first time we met they were doing maybe 1 – 1.5 miles. The last few times we have met some have gotten up to 3 miles! We did a virtual 5km back in October to benefit an orphanage and they got medals and shirts. They were pumped! Today some of them ran their first 5km local race! It has been so fun!
I had one mom come up to me after the first few times of meeting and tell me how she was excited because her son hadn’t really found what he liked to do until now and that he was loving running. He was good at it too! That had been my whole goal this year, to just plant a little seed of exercise and fun. Not everyone can play baseball or soccer, but maybe they can find something else to enjoy. Maybe it’s running…maybe its’s swimming…whatever it is, I wanted to give them the opportunity to find another outlet to use in life. Another super cool thing is that the parents exercise with the kids! The moms will walk laps and one of the dads just completed his first ever 5km because his kids were running at home for the Marathon Kids program that we were using at run club. He decided he would get out and do it with them and realized he liked running too!
Marathon Kids is a free program that is done through the schools (homeschool, public, and private) and the kids are asked to walk/run 26 miles over the course of the year. They keep track of it and then the teacher records it online and they earn Marathon Kids t-shirts. They also have a big kickoff event for the first and last mile if you can attend. I have done it once before with my kids and had a great experience and so I decided to do it again. Whole Foods is a big sponsor of the program and I love that! The program also challenges kids to eat better and also to try new things. It is a wonderful program and has really been a huge basis of our run club. Most of our kids have already reached that 26 mile goal. Some of them reached it in the first month! So we are still tracking mileage to see how many miles we can get this year! Hopefully we will all be able to attend the Final Mile event that Marathon Kids has in the Spring.
Hopefully in the Spring we will be able to work an aid station at a local race so we can give back a little to the running community! So look for us at a water station near you!
– Alicia Loran
I can’t help but notice some life wisdom in Alicia’s experience – It isn’t about having all the answers before you begin. The process of beginning reveals the answers.
How often do we prevent our selves from making a positive impact in our community, in our own life, because fear essentially prevents us from acting? Let Alicia’s experience be one example of what resides in every one of us after observing and acknowledging that fear…then doing it anyways!
To learn more about Marathon Kids, check out their website at http://www.marathonkids.org/ .
A special thanks to Alicia for sharing with us. Alicia also shares her endurance adventure at Running Around in Circles!
Also, check out our first Be the Change article on Katy Students Run.
If you are a TALON (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM) runner and would like to share your experience being involved with a run related program in your community, please drop me a note.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 12 Dec 2012