The Many Benefits of Kids Running Clubs

Relay practice on the first training day.

Relay practice on the first training day at Valley Elementary School.

The Active SWV Kids Run program believes in the value of encouraging youth to be physically active on a daily basis. This is the next generation of the workforce and potential leaders of our state. Families in our region face many challenges and the staff at Active SWV are ready to facilitate the programs needed to strengthen our region.

But what is it? Who does it? Why? When? How?

What: This is a program to get young people participating on a team while seeing the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Who: Volunteer Coaches are needed to follow and add to the manual with suggestions on warm ups, training progression and games.

Why: Because it’s FUN! And currently the students at area schools have restricted opportunities to be physically active. 

When: Spring of 2016 is a great time to get the club started before, during, or after school.

How: It all starts by recruiting the volunteer coaches: retired teachers, current teachers, community members, parents, high school students. Then plan a 5-8 week, at least once a week, training day. Finish the program with a publicized race day inviting the community to join. Then repeat each semester.

Continue reading about our 2015 pilot Kids Running Club: 

Active Southern West Virginia completed its first elementary school running club event on October 7, 2015- a pilot program in partnership with Valley Elementary School in Smithers, Fayette County, West Virginia.

Modeled after the Richmond Sportsbackers program, Kids Run RVA, our coach’s instruction manual includes advice for recruiting volunteer teachers and parents, training schedules with warm up and cool down games, and race day guidelines and permission slips.

The staff of Active SWV met with Principal Harrah and PE Teacher Linkous three times, prior to the first after-school training day, to discuss the recruiting process, training routes, volunteer help, running incentives and race day logistics. Several students from WVU Tech, in Montgomery, participated as club coaches.

At the first team meeting, Principal Harrah reviewed the rules for the running club that included team building skills and behavior. PE Teacher Linkous taught the 5th grade students to lead the warm up and cool down routines. The first practice started on time and proceeded in a well-organized manner with the goal, over the next 4 weeks, of training up to the October 3 Rocket Run event in Beckley.

Setting goals as a team.

Setting goals as a team.

Although race day was postponed, due to inclement weather at the Rocket Boys Festival, the kids participated in their own event the following Wednesday after school at Valley Elementary. The parents were enthusiastic and volunteers were positioned around the race course in their matching team t-shirts. Two of these volunteers were from the neighboring New River Health facility which offers services to school students and faculty.

Taking health measurements on the first day of training.

Taking health measurements on the first day of training.

All of the students finished under 11 minutes with the fastest time being 6:12 on the approximately one mile course.  While a few students were having difficulty finishing the race, others began chanting encouragement and a few of the older boys ran back to help them to the finish line.

High energy on the start line.

High energy on the start line.

The cheers and cowbells subsided while Principal Harrah patiently gathered the racers to pose for a group photo. With the racers seated in a semi circle before her, she explained the importance of the quote printed on the back of their race shirts – “You Are Capable of More Than You Know” – means that making an effort to accomplish something that is challenging will prepare you to overcome the larger hurdles in real life.

Help us inspire, identify and mentor more clubs in our region.

Email Melanie Seiler, [email protected], to nominate a school, volunteer as a coach, and step up as a sponsor. 


  Related Posts