By Amanda Del Giudice
Peach bandanas distinguished ”Team 500” from a crowd of students, parents, siblings and friends at Rock Canyon Elementary at the school”s annual 5K Fun Run, Thursday morning.
Sixth grade teacher, Tiffany Rueckert, challenged her students one month before the race to run 500 miles collectively to train for the run.
“I just felt like if they trained for it they”d do better and feel more successful,” Rueckert said. “It was a good challenge and it was good for them just to learn how to reach goals.”
Each of her students ran on their own from April 7 to May 7 in preparation, and she said everyday the students were excited to report how many miles they”d run. Rueckert also told her students they could come to school early, at 6:30am, and run with her before school started. Students also ran during P.E. and regularly as a class, anywhere between one and three miles at a time.
One of the sixth grade students, Sean George, greatly improved by preparing with miles of practice.
“Last year I noticed I wasn”t doing so well, so when the spring came I decided to run with my mom, ” George said. “But then my class started running so I decided I wanted to run with them because I wanted to run with my friends.”
George”s training paid off when he exceeded his race expectations.
“And after that I cut my score in half this year,” George said. “Last year I got 56th place and this year I got 22nd.”
Team 500 not only reached their goal but passed it, logging 547 collective miles.
“It just taught them all to finish hard and work hard to reach their goal,” Rueckert said.
The 5K Fun Run is a tradition at Rock Canyon Elementary that began nearly 15 years ago when a teacher decided academic testing shouldn”t be the only way to show excellence in school.
“We test kids in academics, we do spelling bees, geography bees, all kinds of end of level test, why don”t we have something fun for the physically strong in our school?” said Dean Nielsen, principal of Rock Canyon Elementary.
Nielsen said the race was a great chance to involve the community and give the alumni the opportunity to participate in the school once more.
“We wanted to get kids in shape, exercise and enjoy using their body the way they should,” Nielsen said.
“It”s just a great tradition… look at everybody around here, they”re having a blast,” Nielsen said. “I think everybody”s a winner. We”ll have a few champions, it”ll be first, second and third, but anybody that finishes in my opinion is a winner.”