By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
Friday, the Pirtle Elementary Runners Club celebrated the completion of their 6-week training regimen with a Fun Run after school. Pirtle Tigers, along with the support and encouragement from their parents, siblings, and friends completed either 1 or 2 miles during the Fun Run.
This is the third year that School Nurse Christie Crim has organized the Runner’s Club workouts and Fun Run event. Throughout the 6 weeks, there were about 65 students that participated in the Tuesday and Thursday workouts. The students didn’t just learn about running but also about how to set goals, proper nutrition for exercising, what perseverance means and how it applies to them, as well as reminders on how to finish strong.
With each lap the kids complete, they are handed a red stick. After 4 laps they receive a foot charm to add to their necklace. Each foot charm denotes 1 mile that they have run. Not only does this help them visually track the miles they are doing, but it also helps with math, counting laps and figuring how many miles they’ve gone.
Every Tuesday and Thursday the Runner’s Club meets for practice and group discussion. We “teach important skills of not only running, but also about life in general,” explained Crim. For instance with “goal setting we teach why it is important to have goals such as finishing homework on your own. What they learn applies to the classroom but also home as well.”
“That’s what we’ve been training for this whole time to running either 1 mile or 2 miles which is the goals the students set,” said Crim. “This is kind of like an end of Runner’s Club party,” Rebecca Kasner, School Psychologist, explained to the students.
“They discovered something they could do that maybe they didn’t know they could,” said parent Monica Snell. “If it wasn’t for this, we would have never tried to run a mile. This shows Nurse Crim’s passion for running and teaching and that she’s willing to try to transfer her passion to these kids. I don’t think events or clubs like these would happen if it weren’t for people like her.”
“I enjoy (the Runner’s Club) because I can squeeze in a little workout too,” said parent Laura Arevalo. “I enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching my daughter. I think she had fun running with her friends.”
Most elementary school kids are “very energetic and this really helps get a lot of energy out,” said parent Rebekah Hibner. “The kindergarteners are so young so it’s nice for them to have a club that they can participate in.”
“There is a lot of parent involvement,” Crim explained. “There’s always parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters running with the kids. It’s a good family bonding experience. It also gives the students a chance to run with their teachers which is nice to see them in a different environment other than in the classroom. When you have everyone working together, that’s the way you make something successful.”
“I like it,” said 5th grader Joshua Crim. “It motivates people and makes us run more and motivates them to run an extra lap. We see how many (foot charms) we can get in the end and who has more. You have to set a challenge to run in the Fun Run and you want to reach your goal.” Joshua reached his goal of running 2 miles at the Fun Run.
The text on the Runners Club T-shirts reads “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.” This motto “helps reinforce that can-do attitude” said Crim.
At the start of the Fun Run, students, parents, and teachers warmed up for the Fun Run with Zumba with the Rockin’ Rays, a husband and wife team who bring Zumba into the Temple and Belton area. Both are licensed instructors, Kim instructing since 2009 and Garry since 2012. Food for the race was donated by HEB and Sam Yarborough, owner of Good Life Bakery Café in Temple.
“No matter if they’re first, last, or middle, the main goal is just to finish,” Crim added. Once crossing the finish line each student received medal.
“We are all very proud of them for sticking with it,” said Crim. “There’s times that it’s been hard and there’s times when they’ve been tired but they’ve been very dedicated and have been finishing what they’ve started. This Fun Run is not just a race, but a celebration of all that they’ve accomplished these last 6 weeks. With the help of excellent teachers, a lot of encouragement, and a lot of hard work.”