Written by: Dayna Landry, Wild Rose School Division
WHEN I STARTED MY FIRST AMA YOUTH RUN CLUB SIX YEARS AGO, I DID IT AS A WAY TO GET ACTIVE.
I had a very challenging group of boys that year. They came every day with a bunch of physical aggression, and a mind full of way too many heavy things. So, we started to run. My supportive EA and I volun-told them, and at lunch recesses we just started to run. It started out slow, and a bit painful, but eventually they caught the run bug and actually sped past me! We bussed them out to their very first 5k run (to make sure they had transportation and no excuse not to come). They were nervous, to say the least — they didn’t want to “fail” at one more thing. As each and every one of them crossed the finish line, the sense of pride on their faces was indescribable.
Fast forward six years. My school, age group and male/female ratio has drastically changed. My run club is much younger and mostly girls. We started the year with a huge group of super keen kids, with a ton of enthusiasm. As the months went on, numbers began to peter out until I ended up with just eight hard cores. Part of me felt like I had failed. That is, until I took them to that first 5k run — the same one from six years ago. With my small group, we lined up with butterflies in our stomachs, and a whole lot of hope to finish. As each and every one of them crossed the finish line (in much faster times than training), I was hit by that same sense of pride on their faces.
When I truly reflect back on the past six years, I realize the number of kids I truly reached. Each one needed something different, but it was running that brought us together. Whether it was the quiet introvert that was seeking connection, the troubled teen who just needed to “run” off some steam, or the “non-athletic” kiddo, who proved to themselves, and others, that there truly was an athletic bone in their body, they all soared.
On the surface, run club appears to cater to those sporty, eager and confident kids. The truth is, run club is for all. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to better your time, clear your head, or find a friend; run club has the answer.