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Students win with 100-mile running club

  • Kendrah Doane, Gracie Brouillet, Isabelle Duga and Aliyah Santana of the Swift River School in Wendell run laps around a field on Tuesday for the 100 Mile Running Club's final run of the year.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Kendrah Doane, Gracie Brouillet, Isabelle Duga and Aliyah Santana of the Swift River School in Wendell run laps around a field on Tuesday for the 100 Mile Running Club's final run of the year.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Astha Bernard of Swift River School's 100 Mile Running Club reaches 100 miles on Tuesday after working towards the goal all school year, while classmates cheer and form a human archway for her to pass under. Classnate Sophia Slade can be easily identified in the background.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Astha Bernard of Swift River School's 100 Mile Running Club reaches 100 miles on Tuesday after working towards the goal all school year, while classmates cheer and form a human archway for her to pass under. Classnate Sophia Slade can be easily identified in the background.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Abel Wasileski looks on as 100 Mile Running Club founder Kara Lubin of Southern California helps Swift River School club member Tobias Phaneuf lace up for the school year's final laps on Tuesday. "Why do grown ups always think we need help tying our shoes?" Phaneuf asked her before running off, leaving Lubin with a hearty laugh and smile.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Abel Wasileski looks on as 100 Mile Running Club founder Kara Lubin of Southern California helps Swift River School club member Tobias Phaneuf lace up for the school year's final laps on Tuesday. "Why do grown ups always think we need help tying our shoes?" Phaneuf asked her before running off, leaving Lubin with a hearty laugh and smile.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kendrah Doane, Gracie Brouillet, Isabelle Duga and Aliyah Santana of the Swift River School in Wendell run laps around a field on Tuesday for the 100 Mile Running Club's final run of the year.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Astha Bernard of Swift River School's 100 Mile Running Club reaches 100 miles on Tuesday after working towards the goal all school year, while classmates cheer and form a human archway for her to pass under. Classnate Sophia Slade can be easily identified in the background.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Abel Wasileski looks on as 100 Mile Running Club founder Kara Lubin of Southern California helps Swift River School club member Tobias Phaneuf lace up for the school year's final laps on Tuesday. "Why do grown ups always think we need help tying our shoes?" Phaneuf asked her before running off, leaving Lubin with a hearty laugh and smile.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

NEW SALEM — The elementary-aged children of Wendell and New Salem have gotten a head start on one of the simpler fitness habits this year, with 14 putting in 100 miles or more running the halls and the perimeter of the Swift River School playground this school year.

School nurse Nan Mead, who applied for the grant to start the program, said all 141 kindergarten through sixth-grade students participated in the 100-mile running club, 83 hit the 25-mile goalpost and 14 students and seven staffers passed 100.

Students won small prizes as they reached milestones. At 25 miles they won T-shirts listing the next milestones up to 100 miles, with boxes to be checked off next to each accomplishment.

“At this point we have kids making new boxes for 200,” Mead said before this week’s final club meeting.

Two students put in more than 200 miles.

“People who at the beginning of the year couldn’t run a mile are running 3 miles in an hour,” Mead said. “Everyone’s happier and healthier.”

The 100 Mile Club is a national program founded by a California special education teacher, Kara Lubin. The school participated through a grant from Child Obesity 180, a Tufts University group with the stated goal of reversing the trend toward childhood obesity.

Lubin visited Swift River on Tuesday for the club’s last meeting of the year.

Mead plans to continue the club next year.

“Definitely. Everyone is so happy with this program — the staff, the parents. Parents are telling me that kids go home and they’re hungry, they eat, they’re more focused, they do their homework without complaining and they’re tired, so they sleep better. And we’re seeing that the kids are behaving better in class,” she said.

With the grant gone, parents will be asked for a $10 donation next year.

The program is weeklong. The students can rack up miles at recess, after school, at charity 5k races, and some teachers take their students out for a quick run to start off a class, she said. Miles are logged during the run with check marks on duct-tape and Velcro wristbands: six laps around the field equals one mile.

Next year, that course should be a bit firmer.

The school is raising money for a gravel running path around the playground to cut down on the number of days puddles and mud push the runners indoors. Last week, before a pancake and foot race fundraiser, Mead said the school had already raised $1,000 toward the modest $5,000 track. Now they’re sitting closer to $2,500 or $3,000, she said, and waiting with fingers crossed for word on a grant application this month that would cover the rest.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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