Click photo to enlarge
Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

South Fortuna Elementary School created a Fun Run as a byproduct of their “Run Across the United States” program. After 11 weeks of running during a weekly Physical Education time as a running club, the students had run enough miles to cross the United States.

The school used to have an after school running program, but converted it to include all of the students this year. “Each class dedicated one weekly P.E. time to running club. We kept track of how many miles they ran, totaled them, and charted the miles across a U.S. map,” said event organizer Kathleen Lair.

Lair said, “Each week we placed a new city on the map representing the miles accumulated by all the classes that week.” Miles were tracked by grade level to keep the competitive edge going as the students were eager to outdo each other with their healthy exercise choice.

These amazing students averaged 270 miles a week. Individually every time they ran two miles they received a plastic foot to add to their running club necklace.

On Fun Run day the track was decorated with balloons and streamers and a student said, “This is really going to be a fun run!”

The Fun Run day was designed to wrap up the Run Across the United States Program. To impress upon each other, their families, and the staff who had supported them every time on the track the students wrapped up the event with 454 miles.

Families lined the track and cheered on their loved ones as they repeatedly passed by on the track. In celebration of all the students had accomplished and learned about keeping active they celebrated with “Lunch on the Lawn” with students, families, and staff.

In the end the map reflected a trek across the U.S. from Fortuna to Washington, D.C.

”We appreciate the PTA for purchasing the necklaces and incentive feet for each student to help encourage their participation,” Lair said.

After the event wrapped up one first grader wrote to Principal Jeff Northern: “Thank you for letting us run. Thank you for the fun!”

”Many students came up to me during the day showing me how many feet they had,” Lair said. “Our staff seemed pleased about the event and commented about the student's eagerness. We had a lot of compliments on how fun lunch on the lawn was too.”

Lair put the event together to promote fun and exercise saying, “The goal was to have fun and for it to be a super positive experience. I believe we did that and it is an experience we will repeat next spring.”

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Students and Staff filled the center of the track after an eventful Fun Run that wrapped up their Run Across America.