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Why the majority of kids at this school love to run

At Springvale Elementary School in Halifax, running isn’t something just a few kids do.Over 200 kids out of its school population of 280 run each week as part of Kids’ Run Club, including all Primary to Grade 2 students in the school.

Get active together

A way for kids to get active with their classmates, the program teaches them how to run, set goals and, most importantly, to have fun getting fit together.

“A student the other day said that her running skills make her feel good about herself,” said John McGowan, the physical education teacher at Springvale who has been coaching his students with Kids Run Club for 14 years. “Not all students excel in math and language arts, so it is a good way for some of these students to shine.”

Mr. McGowan says Kids Run Club teaches kids skills they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives. “We’re training kids to live active lives away from screen time and to combat the diseases and disorders brought on by inactivity and poor nutrition,” he said.

14-year legacy

Springvale Elementary is one of 13 schools that’s been part of Kids Run Club since it started back in 2004. Sponsored by Doctor’s Nova Scotia, the free club has grown to reach more than 17,000 youth in 270 schools and groups across Nova Scotia each year.

Fun-run goals

Most teams train to complete a final fun-run of 2KM, 4KM or 5KM. For the Springvale kids, that’s the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon.

“Probably 90% of our participants in Grade 1 or higher have run in the DNS Blue Nose Youth Run,” said Mr. McGowan. “Our students enjoy the entire event and the spectacle that it is. Each year, our participants gather for a group photo and enjoy gathering in the Scotiabank Centre after the run.”

Building fitness and leadership

Mr. McGowan credits the club with improving the fitness of his students. “Over the years, we’ve had fewer and fewer students taking walking breaks. We used to have five different pace groups and now we only have two: those who run all the way and those who take 30-second walking breaks after each 500 metres.”

It’s also helped older students hone their leadership skills with younger participants. “For our “minis” club training, we include games, relays and timed running periods with music interspersed with walking breaks to build endurance. The senior students help lead the young students in stretching and cool down activities.”

Get involved

You don’t have to be a teacher to get a Kids Run Club up and running in your community. Parents, university students and people who just love fitness can all become champions of the program. Coaches receive free training materials (in both official languages) and ongoing support from regional reps and a program coordinator.

Has your child participated in Kids Run Club? Share about their experience in the comment section below.

 Kids Run Club is proudly sponsored by: