AGE to age Family Fun Mile to be added to this year’s Lumberjack LapsThe After School Running Club concept is intended to encourage family fitness of all ages. It also coincides with the debut of a new “AGE to age Family Fun Mile” at this year’s Lumberjack Laps event, slated for Saturday, May 11, at Cloquet High School, beginning at 10 a.m.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
It seems that running events are a dime a dozen these days. Marathons, half marathons and 5Ks are held nearly every weekend throughout the spring and summer, and many participants are already in training for them, including a group of 32 enthusiastic children who galloped around the gym at Churchill Elementary on Tuesday.
“In training” might not be quite the right word for the games of “Run If” or “Captain Midnight” that they played. But one thing was certain — the youngsters were learning a whole lot about keeping their bodies in shape by eating right (healthy snacks were served at the start of the session), preventing injuries (the children went through a period of muscle stretches and warm-ups before any running games began) and following instructions (fill-in “coach” Linnea Barto from Cloquet Community Education called a halt to the action every now and then to remind students of the rules.)
The Churchill students, along with 32 more at Washington Elementary, are taking part in a 10-week After-School Running Program funded through a grant from the Kids Plus “AGE to age” program. Twice a week, students in kindergarten through fourth grade meet in the school gyms for snacks, 10 minutes of warm-ups and 30 minutes of vigorous exercise.
“We’re not putting the focus on competition,” said Barto, “and we’re not using any stopwatches. Instead, we incorporate running through games, interspersed with periods of rest. The kids are definitely getting some good experience.”
The curriculum is based, in part, on the “Kids Run the Nation” online curriculum and addresses safety, pacing, and hydration as well as traditional exercise.
Barto said the concept is intended to encourage family fitness of all ages. It also coincides with the debut of a new “AGE to age Family Fun Mile” at this year’s Lumberjack Laps event, slated for Saturday, May 11, at Cloquet High School, beginning at 10 a.m. Prizes will be awarded for the oldest competitor, youngest, most spirited family and the fastest finishing team.
Lumberjack Laps co-coordinator Angela Jones of the Washington P.I.E. group said the new Family Fun Mile is a welcome addition to the popular annual event, held each spring since 2010 to raise funds for Washington’s fitness and technology funds.
She explained that the Fun Mile will be a team event, where at least two runners on a four-member team are encouraged to be under the age of 16. Each team member will run one lap, and though the emphasis is more on participation than competition, the overall goal is to have fun while getting exercise as a family.
The Lumberjack Laps event includes a half day of short running races, including a 100-yard dash for ages 4 and under; a quarter-mile race for ages 5-8; a half mile race for ages 9-12; the Lumberjack Mile for ages 18 and under; and the Legacy Mile Walk/Run for ages 19 and over. An awards ceremony will be held at the conclusion of the events, with participation ribbons awarded to all those 12 and under, medals for the top three boys and girls in the 18 and under event, and a T-shirt for the winner of the Legacy race as well as gift certificates for second- and third-place finishers.
The day will kick off with the popular Mascot Race, featuring the whacky costumed mascots from several area businesses, including Tiki Tom from The Edgewater; Jack the Dog from Wells Fargo; Champ, the UMD Bulldog; Wilbur from Famous Dave’s; Andy Armadillo from Texas Roadhouse; the Otter from Great Lakes Aquarium; Harley from the Duluth Superior Huskies; Blazin’ Bill from Buffalo Wild Wings; and Buddy, the Carlton Bulldog.
There will also be a Lumberjack Fun Area for kids sponsored by Cloquet Community Education, and a silent auction featuring such donated prizes as a Cloquet family pass for the 2013-14 high school athletic season, a Black Bear “Stay and Play” package for hotel, golf and buffet; free night’s stays at Grand Casino and the Cloquet AmericInn, a photography package from Vita Bella Photography; a Pine Journal reading basket; gift certificates to area restaurants and golf passes to area golf courses.
Early registration will take place on Friday, May10, from3-4:45 p.m. in the Washington School Library and will resume the day of the event. Registration for race events is $8 and $5 for the Family Fun Mile.
For more information, go to lumberjacklaps.com.
Churchill Elementary sponsors a similar event, the River Run, each September, and Barto reported that the committee will be providing funds to offer another running club for elementary students in late August through Sept. 21.