A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the ladies at my local Lululemon store for a very fun opportunity. A local school asked if they knew a runner that would want to participate in a new program, aiming to get kids active. Since I am the store’s running ambassador, they quickly contacted me to gauge my interest. Of course, I jumped at the chance!
This past Monday, I was up bright and early to participate in the first Morning Mile at a local elementary school!
What is Morning Mile? Directly from their website, ”Morning Mile is a before-school walking/running program that gives children the chance to start their day in an active way while enjoying fun, music and friends. It’s supported by a wonderful system of rewards, which keeps students highly motivated and frequently congratulated. It’s a proven project geared towards fighting childhood obesity and increasing the physical activity levels of school children nationwide.”
The entire school gathered on the field behind the school, students and teachers alike, to kick off the program. There were many volunteers involved, along with many people taking part – the Superintendent, Principal, and Vice Principal all made the first lap around the cones for the kick-off. I was even introduced, along with Stephen Jones (a former Olympian!!), along with Ed and Scott – 2 of the program sponsors from PeerFit. We all lined up with the kids and ran the laps with them.
The students were all so excited to get to run around before having to go inside for the day. They were laughing, smiling, and running away all of their morning energy. Every morning, any child (and parent) that wants to participate can come to school a few minutes early and do a few laps around the field. 16 laps = 1 mile. For each lap, the kids collect a coffee stirrer-sticks. At the end of each Morning Mile, they count how many sticks they have, and record it on a piece of paper. Once they have reach a total of 5 miles, they get a prize!
I think this is such a great way to get kids active. Not only are they starting their day off by moving (which I’m sure helps the energy levels in the classroom) but they are being reinforced that exercise is a great way to start the day – and that little exercise gains lead to some pretty big wins! Think of how far 5 miles is to a 1st grader! That’s a long way!
I hope that more elementary schools in the Tampa Bay area (and the country for that matter!) adopt this program. It sets such an amazing example for today’s youth and really was a lot of fun too! I can’t wait to go back for another Morning Mile!
Have you ever heard of Morning Mile? What about other programs like this? Any teacher’s out there? Bring this up to your school principal, and get a Morning Mile program started where you live too!