Asher's Record-Breaking Journey: 776 Miles with Marathon Kids
On the bustling grounds of Valmead Elementary School, every morning at 7 AM, a sea of eager feet can be heard pounding the track. This is the sight and sound of Marathon Kids in action. A program aimed at getting kids active through running, and among those feet is a dedicated runner named Asher Crawford.
Last school year Asher ran a whopping 776 miles - beating the record of his school. He's come a long way from the 300 miles he ran the year prior as a 3rd grader! To put it in perspective, Asher's 776 mile accomplishment is equivalent to running nearly 30 marathons. He once even completed a marathon's distance in just a day and a half! When not running, Asher can be found playing sports like basketball and baseball and enjoys riding his bike. By combining his love for sports alongside running, Asher truly ignited his passion and determination to go the distance.
His journey began with a single goal – to beat the record set by Hailey Walker. You see, Hailey Walker, a previous student of the school, ran 600 miles in one school year. Yet, with a start two weeks later than the rest of his running club teammates, Asher delved deeper into running and it became more than just about breaking records. He gained strength and a sense of accomplishment in every stride. Running wasn't just a physical activity for him; it prepared him mentally for his school day, helping him channel his energy and focus better in class.
But why did Asher run? When asked, he candidly shared that he was fueled by both the supporters cheering him on and the naysayers who doubted him. “I had some kids tell me ‘I could do it’ and others say ‘I couldn’t’. But I also knew that Coach Abee believed in me.” Coach Abee states, “Asher is a great kid, he pushes and motivates himself. I get to enjoy his energy and determination to conquer his goals.”
Much of Asher's success can be attributed to his dedicated Physical Education teacher Sharon Abee and the solid foundation laid by the Marathon Kids program. Coach Abee offers a before school morning running club which is open to all students at the school. She believes in the benefits of getting kids moving prior to the school day. “Kids go to class awake and alert, ready to learn.” Coach Abee has plans underway to make the experience even more rewarding for her young runners.
Another big supporter of Asher is his father. He spoke about the transformation he saw in his son: from the physical endurance to the mental maturity, the positive effects of Asher's dedication were evident. “When Asher commits to something, he’s fully dedicated.” Asher has witnessed his parents' personal drive and watched as they overcame challenges, which also contributes to his natural drive and determination.
Asher’s accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, Yet, despite his accomplishments, Asher remains grounded. His advice to budding runners, "Don’t run, don’t walk, jog. You’ve got to pace yourself." This sentiment is echoed by Coach Abee, who believes in the power of pacing and often runs alongside her students to emphasize its importance.
As Marathon Kids embarks on another year, there's excitement in the air as the program aims for a goal of 4.8 million miles for the over 1,100 schools across the US participating. And leading from the front will be Asher, who has set his sights on running between 800 to 1,000 miles this school year.
In Asher's story, we see the embodiment of Marathon Kids' mission. Through determination, support, and the pure joy of running, kids like Asher are not just chasing records but are also setting a pace for a healthier, more active future. So, here's to Asher and every child who's lacing up their shoes and taking that first step. The race is long, but the journey is worth every mile.
Make Marathon Kids Your School's Running Partner