About 120 students at Canton-Galva Elementary School in Canton participated in a fitness program that saw them run a combined total of some 600 miles.
The program was the brainchild of Jeff Savage, who teaches physical education classes at the school.
“We do the fitness run in PE three times a week,” he said. The challenge was for each student to run the equivalent distance from Canton to Galva, about six miles.
To keep accurate track of their progress covered, students worked in pairs of two. Savage said its 28 laps around the outer edge of the gym floor to cover one mile. As one student ran, the other would hand that student a lollipop stick as he or she passed by until the student collected 28.
“I had a great big barrel of lollipop sticks,” Savage joked. “For each mile they ran, we gave them one of those Eagle (sheets) to put their name on, then they put them up on the (cafeteria) wall and kept going with it.”
Students ran mostly during PE time, but teachers had the option of letting them run during recess, too.
“They really got into this and did a good job,” Savage said. “They loved it when they got the Eagles, just because it meant something.”
The student with the most miles was kindergartener Kaliska Lund, who covered 7.5.
“At this age they love to run,” Savage said. “We try to establish a good fitness base for the kids. Now, some of them have gone into these track meets on weekends and have done very well because they’re in pretty good shape.”
Savage said the inspiration for the challenge came from his youth.
“Believe it or not we had something of a running program before school. I remembered that, and how much I enjoyed it, I guess. I was looking for a way to help the kids understand what fitness is.”