Written by Hayley Degaust, Ever Active Schools
The AMA Youth Run Club is a free, fun and flexible opportunity for schools and students to get active! Run, walk or roll your way to a healthier school community at any grade level. Hosting a fun run or walk event is a great way to either kick off or celebrate the end of your AMA Youth Run Club! Read on to learn how to host a fun run or walk and how the AMA Youth Run Club can help to make your event a success.
The first step to hosting a fun run or walk is to plan out the basics of your event.
This includes picking the name of your event. Sometimes a themed run may attract more participants. In the past, AMA Youth Run Clubs have opted for colour runs, fundraising runs, obstacle course runs and so many more fun ideas!
Next, select a date and location for your event.
If you choose to host your event on the weekend, make sure participants are able to get there. It is easiest to host a fun run or walk on the school grounds. If your location is off-site, you’ll need to consider permits, washroom access and transportation to the event site.
Be sure to map out your course and consider hills and flat terrain. You can set up your course however you wish. Our preference is a short lap (0.5-1km) that students can run repeatedly. This allows for the students to pass the spectators and receive encouragement. For course distance, we recommend:
- 1km for grades K-3
- 3km for grades 4-6
- 4km for grades 7-9
- 5km for grades 10-12
Figure out who will be involved in the fun run.
You can invite your whole school or just those who are actively participating in your club. We suggest inviting the whole school as an introduction to the AMA Youth Run Club – who knows, you may just encourage more participants to join your club in the future! You can even invite a neighbouring school to join your event.
If you have a high number of participants you may want to break the fun run event into different categories. You can do this by grade or by those who wish to run versus walk versus roll.
Other people you will need to be involved in your fun run are volunteers. These can be school staff, parents, community members or the student leaders at your school. Volunteers can help set up, lead the run, cheer on participants, marshal the course, hand out snacks or hand out finisher prizes.
Depending on the size of your event you may also want to reach out to local businesses to see if they want to donate anything to your run. Donations could be healthy snacks for post run or walk or maybe some draw prizes for the event.
Now that you have the who, what, when figured out: it’s time to advertise your event!
Students can help create signs to promote the event. You can send it home through the school communication channels and share it on the announcements. If you want, you can invite parents and guardians to come out and participate or make signs and cheer on the participants.
The AMA Youth Run Club has many supports that can help make your event a success.
We have team members who can come out and support your event in person, and if we can’t make it in person we can still send items to you for your event! Make sure to submit a request as soon as you have a date set for your event. The AMA Youth Run Club has big green blow up start/finish line arches that we can bring out or mail to you to use at your event. We also have stick-on running bibs and finisher prizes that we can provide for all participants. If we are attending in person we can also bring our speaker system with a microphone and our awesome pump up playlist!
Below is a list of supplies to make your event a success:
- Healthy snacks for post run or walk
- Access to water or water bottles
- Start & finish line
- AMA Youth Run Club finisher prizes
- Course markers (pylons, pin flags, chalk paint, etc.)
- Course signage
- AMA Youth Run Club race bibs
- Sound system
- Clock (optional)
- Event shirts (optional)
Everything is planned and it’s event day! What does that look like?
We suggest leaving yourself an hour to set up. Set-up can include marking out the course, setting up the start/finish line, setting out snacks, distributing running bibs and setting up the sound system.
Once everything is set up, it’s time for a warm up! Get students outside, play music and introduce any special guests. Get student leaders or a volunteer to lead the students in an active warm up.
Now it’s time to move! Line up participants in the categories you decided on. Send them off for their run and cheer them on! Make sure to hand out prizes at your finish line. Once the participants are finished, be sure to encourage them to cool down and have some water and a snack. Stretches can be found in our Coach’s Handbook (found in our Coach’s Corner for registered clubs) and can be led by student leaders. Make sure you celebrate the success of the event and everyone’s participation.
If your event is a kick off for the year make sure to continue the momentum. Have students sign up for your AMA Youth Run Club at the event. We love to support run and walk clubs across Alberta, so please reach out to us if you need support!