What has 240 feet (or more) and can run about 6,000 miles in just 20 days? The Crews MS Running Club!
Nearly 250 students signed up for the after-school club, which met twice a week in September and October. About half of the members were in attendance for any given meeting, ready to stretch, circle the track, then make the three-mile roundtrip to Alexander Park in Snellville. Altogether, students ran a grand total of 6,000 miles during 10 weeks this fall, most running at least the equivalent of a 26.2-mile marathon.
On run days, club sponsors Rod Hames and Frank Hedrick patrolled the route on bicycles, keeping an eye on the runners as they covered the course. In addition to participating in the group run, students had a chance to hear guest speakers talk about running technique, the benefits of exercise, and upcoming race events.
"Kids need to know the importance of exercise and the value it brings to the success story each student is writing,” says Mr. Hames who notes that a low-cost sport like running can lead to an improved lifestyle and better health. That theme plays out in student feedback on the club. While the social aspects and a shared love of running are key draws, most student runners also cite a goal of getting more fit or staying fit for life.
About 20 adults— teachers, coaches, parents, and business partners— supported the club’s fitness regimen. Mr. Hames say it was a communitywide effort aimed at increasing fitness and helping develop well-rounded students. For the twice-weekly runs, a local minister set up a water station with donated water from a nearby grocery store. And the Atlanta Track Club donated incentives for the top-mileage runners, including water bottles, T-shirts, sports bags, and medals.
While the Crews Running Club will take a break during cooler fall and winter months, the kids and their sponsors will hit the track again in March when the weather warms up.
Check out the photo gallery for a peek into the fitness regimen of both the running club and the tennis program at Crews, and view a video about the tennis program produced by student participants. (Photo credit: Shooting Spaar Photography)
Students take swing at tennis in weekly clinics
Another community-driven fitness program for Crews students is a tennis intramurals program that met weekly this fall. Tennis Pro Carlos Soler and a group of more than 10 high school tennis players (from Brookwood HS and Grayson HS) conducted weekly clinics at the Flowers Crossing tennis courts for about 40 middle schoolers who had never played the game. This was the third season for the club.