Jacks Valley students urged to run | RecordCourier.com
by Scott Neuffer

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Jacks Valley students urged to run

Students of Jacks Valley Elementary School had a chance to run for their lives Friday morning.

Running School, a kids’ fitness program based in Auburn, Calif., made its Nevada debut.

Brad Kearns, founder and director of Running School and former champion triathlete, said that his program aims to get kids in shape, help them develop self-confidence and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

“I want them to enjoy and appreciate running, but also learn goal-setting,” Kearns said. “I want them to set individual goals for themselves and get a sense of achievement.”

Kearns said students would have a chance to track and record their times for both a half-mile distance run and a 40-yard sprint. He said that after the races students would be able to get on the program’s Web site and enter their scores. Running School will be coming back throughout the semester to conduct identical races, giving students the chance to compare old scores with new scores, set new goals and improve their times.

Before showing an educational video, Kearns asked students in a crowded gym some questions about their lifestyles. He held up an empty bag of Frito Lay Funyuns and asked the kids whether it was a healthy snack. Students unanimously yelled that it wasn’t and pointed thumbs down. When Kearns held up an apple, the students cheered and threw their thumbs up.

After the assembly, one class at a time proceeded outside to the school’s new running track, funded by Big George Ventures, also the sponsor of Running School.

Dan Dixon’s fourth-grade class was first to try out the new track. Joan Lewis, a fitness instructor for Running School, explained the rules of the first race, a half-mile distance run around the playground.

The course, marked by red cones, encircled the new track and about half of the school’s northern soccer field.

Lewis told the students she would be racing with them and leading them around the course. She advised them not to run too fast at the beginning. She told students that they needed to find a solid pace – not too fast, not too slow – in order to avoid fatigue.

Standing at the start line, the fourth graders were given a countdown, then burst into speed.

Some students didn’t listen to their instructor and spent all their energy in the first half of the course. But fourth-grader Tanner Williams set a moderate pace and was first to cross the finish line.

Jacks Valley Principal Pam Gilmartin said she was delighted with Running School and her new playground equipment, including the track, a walking labyrinth and a soon-to-be-built giant chessboard, on which kids will have to physically move around huge chess pieces to play. Gilmartin said that she wanted her students to have the best possible playground for play, exercise and learning.

For more information on Running School, go to info@runningschool.org or call (530) 888-9911.

— Scott Neuffer can be reached at sneuffer@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 217.