Spring Creek running club completes cross-Canada journey 

Youngsters reach 6,000-kilometre goal

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Little travellers Members of the Spring Creek Community School running club form a maple leaf to celebrate running the distance from Whistler to Halifax on June 23.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Little travellers Members of the Spring Creek Community School running club form a maple leaf to celebrate running the distance from Whistler to Halifax on June 23.

Spring Creek Community School has made it to the land of the Bluenose.

Roughly 130 local students in kindergarten through Grade 3 at the school ran 6,000 kilometres since April — taking them all the way to Halifax, N.S. While no donairs awaited them at the finish line as they did a final run as a group on June 23, fruits and vegetables were available as healthier options at the school after the wrap-up.

Organizing teacher Deann Palmer said two classes were involved last year, and they made it far enough to say hello to Mickey Mouse and friends. This year, a few more classes came on board and they went coast-to-coast with the initiative.

"Last year, we ran to Disneyland and back, so this year, I asked if there were some other teachers who would be interested in being involved in the running program," Palmer said. "We gave ourselves 11 weeks to run 6,000 km. The kids set their own individual goals, some as little as 50 km, which is not little for a kid who's running, and some all the way up to 200.

"It was a good experience on setting goals as well, too, because some of our individual goals were really high and we had to adjust them halfway through. The kids really learned a lot about planning ahead and how to run."

Included in the program was information about proper nutrition, correct form, stretching and maintaining endurance.

Teachers also incorporated other subjects into the program, such as math (calculating distance), art and Canadian geography, as students learned about different provinces as they progressed in their collective trek across the country.

"We were learning about all the places we stopped in at the end of each week, so if we were in B.C., we would get the iPads and look up what kinds of things you can do in B.C., what kinds of animals there are," Palmer said. "Each province we hit, we did a bit of research on that province."

In addition to their running at school, students tallied up their activities at home to add to the total, with some parents even emailing in kilometres their kids traversed while on holiday.

Palmer expressed thanks to fellow teachers Sarah McQueen, Jaclyn McCance, Andrea Franklin, Emily McCague and Anita D'Onghia for their hard work in making the project a success.

Grade 3 student Ben Emde said he was a little slow to start, but picked up his running toward the middle of the campaign. He enjoyed all aspects of the project.

"I learned a lot more about teamwork, and it was really fun running with my friends," he said. "I'm really happy we made it to Halifax."

Two of Emde's schoolmates enjoyed the chance to get out more — especially with cooperative weather for much of the time the classes were part of the challenge.

"I liked it because you can get your exercise and you can spend time outside at the same time," Grade 3 student Neve Maynard said.

"I feel really lucky that we didn't have to run in the rain very much because it was mostly sunny all the time," fellow Grade 3 student Thea Torn piped in.

Palmer plans to run someplace else next year, but will let students decide on the destination.



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