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Northfield students complete marathon, one mile a day
October 22, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Brenda Pszanka Northfield fifth graders Maddie Seiler (left) and Carleigh Pszanka cross the finish line holding hands in celebration as classmates look on during the Northfield Marathon. The marathon involved running a mile a day, which is three laps around the school, for 26 days, before runners could cross the finish line.

Since the beginning of the school year, several students at Northfield Elementary have been getting up early to run three laps around the school building before starting the school day as part of the Northfield Marathon. The three laps cover just under one mile.

“Our goal was to promote healthy lifestyles and decrease childhood obesity,” Northfield Principal Betty Smith told members of the school board during their October meeting. “Hopefully, this gives students the opportunity to be engaged a bit more in their education throughout the day by starting it off with a mile run.”

Smith said she always high-fives the kids as they pass by and she’s heard wonderful conversations between friends, and with parents, about the benefits of running the marathon.

“Running the marathon helped me to get in shape for sports events,” said Northfield sixth grader Parker Long. “Getting up at 7 a.m. was tough, but once I finished I felt very accomplished with myself because I did something good.”

The one mile daily run started just after Labor Day and finished up Oct. 9 when students had logged 26 miles. On the final lap, students ran through an arch (also used at the Monument Marathon) at the school to honor their hard work. And Monument Physical Therapy provided medals.

“We had a lot of parent involvement, which was cool,” Smith said. “Hopefully we set some habits that will go beyond the marathon and into life.”

This is the second year for the Northfield Marathon. Last year, 76 students completed the course. This year, the number was up to 98.

School board member BJ Peters, who’s also a runner, congratulated the students on their accomplishment. “It’s not easy getting up to run in the morning when it’s still dark outside,” he said. “If it’s also windy, it might be easier to just stay in bed. So I applaud you for your determination. It’s a great way to start the school year and get some excitement going.”

The School Marathon Foundation started in Kansas to promote exercise and healthy lifestyles, along with it mental and physical benefits, to principals, teachers, parents and teachers around the nation.
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