Fourth Annual Crooked River Fun Run

More than 400 students, parents and community members gathered at the starting line by the Crooked River Grade School Gym on Friday night.

It was the fourth year for the annual Crooked River Fun-Run, and the first year of participation in the New York Road Runners Mighty Milers Program. By last Friday, nearly 300 Mighty Miler “Cougars” had run nearly 4,500 miles and several had collected medals for completing four marathons (104.8) of miles.

On the day of the Fun-Run, participants make their way from the Crooked River Gym through the town and back, with a total of 1.5 miles. Finishers received race packets and enjoyed a banana feast.

“On days when the Cougars run, they are so much more focused and there’s a noticeable decrease in disciplinary issues,” noted Crook River Elementary Physical Education instructor A.J. Pickhardt.

Erin Woodward and A.J. Pickhardt started the Crook River Fun-Run approximately four years ago. Students run at lunch time on Mondays and Wednesdays, during recess. It is completely a choice for students to run or not. A lot of teachers run or walk with the students and some parents even come and help at lunch recess.

The project has been a big hit, and this year, the PE instructors decided to add an element to their program. The New York Road Runners (NYRR) is the foremost running organization in the world. Its premier event is the New York City Marathon. The NYRR fulfills its youth services mission by establishing running-based programs that promote children’s physical fitness, character development, and personal achievement in under-served communities.

“Every time you do a lap, you get a punch on your card. Four laps equals one mile, and we receive a “foot” for each mile,“ said a fourth grade Crooked River student. “We try to get as many laps as possible, and when we get 26.5 on our card, we get a marathon.”

The goal is for kids to get healthy. First Lady Michelle Obama is creating a national movement to get kids moving and help them become healthier, and the students at Crooked River Elementary have already made a big start to meet this goal.

PE instructor Erin Woodward said that 65 students have already finished marathons. She has also been impressed by the parents that come on lunch and supervise and encourage them, and ensure safety while the students are running. Volunteers do punches on their cards, and help track miles and laps.

The Fun-Run has been a big success each year, and the NYRR has added an element to the event that has really motivated students.

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