Friday, June 02, 2006

Make A Wish

I have so many things I want to post - so many thoughts on running and blogging. I feel the need to do a whole post on why I like to travel and run. And an entirely separate post on running in the rain, and the rain just started to come down in a torrential pour and I'm done running for the day - so disappointing. And yet, I'll have to put those posts on hold, 'cause my unexpected run today deserves a post.

My kids have an amazing PE teacher. Because I'm a runner, and have a college degree in PE - Exercise Physiology, PE is a big deal to me. At the K-8 level, PE is often overlooked. But one has only to look at the obesity problem of children in our country and understand the need for fitness and activity. This PE teacher's name is Lou. He's 55 yrs. old. All year long he runs a unicycle program that perfoms city-wide. In the fall he gets kids ready for the Seattle Kids Marathon - in which the children have a couple of months to complete 25 miles on their own, and then run the last 1.2 miles all together in conjuction with the Seattle Marathon. The kids periodically have timed mile runs throughout the year, and have a 'hip to be fit' program where they can earn fitness points in different areas and get a t-shirt. In the spring he coaches the middle school track team. He's volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for many years.

Today is Lou's birthday. Every year on his birthday he puts together a run at school to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation. They have a loop course - 6 laps to a mile - and he commits to running as many laps as he has lived. Today it was the 55 lap run - a little over 9 miles. The entire school runs laps as well, and each of the kids running gets pledges per lap. The foundation doesn't like solicitation, and these kids are sponsored mostly by friends, family, and neighbors. Evening Magazine, a local TV crew, was out there today with a local TV celebrity to do some filming.

I put on my running clothes this morning, planning to take the kids to school, see them off on their run, and then head out for a 4-5 mile run myself. It was so inspirational to see how excited all these kids were, I stayed to watch a little. Then my youngest (5 yrs. old), asked if I would run with her. I figured maybe I'd jog a few laps. I gotta say, these kids are amazing. Several of the middle-school kids actually ran all 55 laps, and most of the teaching staff was out running and walking as well. My 10-yr-old paced herself, and cranked out the laps until she thought she was getting blisters. Then she walked a bit with some friends, then took off her shoes and walked a bit more. She completed 46 laps - a little over 7½ miles. My 8-yr-old was alotted a shorter time to run due to classroom requirements. And she was a little nervous to run too far because she and her older sister have one of those kid triathlons tomorrow. (they are gonna be so wasted, they have no idea). She ran with a friend - and I actually saw the friend adding more laps during her lunch recess. Our 8-yr-old ran 24 laps - 4 miles. My youngest is hilarious. She's like the energizer bunny. When she got tired, she'd walk a bit, then sprint some more, then jog, then walk. It was with this little one that I got my run in today - a little slower than I'd planned, but longer too. She completed 33 laps - 5½ miles. And I'm not one of those pushy parents - they're just crazy kids who love to run. It was me following her and the staff cracking up the whole time. All told, my kids got in 103 laps. I won't tell you how much we sponsored them for - but think about all those other kids in their school, and how much money this event raises - from a small K-8 school. After the money is sent in, and put to a specific child, the children are told during meeting time - all about the child, the wish, and how they helped it come true. Pretty cool. And the kids sang Happy Birthday to Lou.

10 comments:

Anne said...

Those are some amazing kids and an equally amazing PE teacher. I agree with you that PE has fallen by the wayside in the era of testing. I love this guy Lou.

Sarah said...

How cool! Lou sounds like a great role model for the kids...and you too!

JustRun said...

That's great! A run like that is worth so much more than logged miles.

Joe said...

Nice story!

Robb said...

Lou deserves respect for taking action. He's the kind of teacher your kids will remember in 25 years. The kind of guy that made a difference! Excellent.

iliketoast said...

Pretty cool indeed!

That is something to be very very proud of. Congratulations.

olga said...

Very warm post. Happy b-day to a kid!

Sarah Elaine said...

Teachers like Lou are exceptional. They should make a movie about him! (How I wish my PE teachers had been like that... I was one of the obese kids!)

Your kids are amazing. Chip off the old block, eh?

rice said...

Wow that’s great. It is a real problem with the kids these days. The unfortunate part is that there parents are no better off. Lead by example? Then what’s going to happen when all these people have kids? We have to stop this and get our kids back out there; not by pushing them but having them follow us.

Cheers.

Rice.

Just12Finish said...

What a performanc by your kids! I'm inspired! My kids are similar in age (10, 10 (yes, twins), and 5) - all girls! They're pretty active in their own way, but not in running. Not yet anyway.