Over the course of the past six weeks, students of Concordia Elementary School have been arriving early to school so they can run or walk a mile as they progress toward completing a full 26.2 miles in the Concordia Elementary School Marathon.
The marathon began the last week of August with 160 kids as well as parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters jogging, running and even walking four laps around the CES playground to complete a mile.
"On the first two days of the marathon, the students completed a half mile each day then gradually increased the distance to where the kids were completing one mile each day by the end of the week," CES physical education teacher, Rick Haden, said.
As the students progressed in their mileage day by day, they each received an incentive for every five miles that they reached. The first incentive was a chain necklace with the number 5, representing five miles completed. As the students progressed, they added more numbers to their necklace. The farther along the students got in the marathon, the better the incentives became with water bottles, bags, school marathon wristbands and, for completion of the marathon, they will receive a medal and a t-shirt.
"The point of school marathon is not the incentives the students receive or the number of miles that are completed, but the importance of getting out and exercising," Haden said. "I want the students that I teach to know the importance of having an active and healthy lifestyle and to experience the benefits that come along with it."
During the marathon, many special days were planned, mostly on Fridays, to help build excitement and also to encourage what the students were doing. The first special day was invite a teacher day which was then followed by family run day, CHS athlete day, CCCC athlete day, community day, KU/KSU Day and hat day, just to name a few.
"The students really enjoy these special days and they always ask me what our next special day is going to be," Haden said. "It's been wonderful to invite different groups of people to come and have them join in the marathon with the kids. I don't know who gets more out of it, the kids themselves or the ones who participate with them. All I know is, it is a win-win situation."
Monday, Oct. 7, CES students will be completing their final mile of the marathon. For the grand finale, the students will get a true "marathon" experience by all starting at the same time.
The starting time for the final mile of the school marathon will be at 7:45 a.m. CES invites people from the community to come and watch and to line the streets and cheer on the "mini-marathoners" as they run and/or walk their final mile in the CES marathon.