How Harpeth Valley Elementary Makes Running Fun
Harpeth Valley Elementary, located in southwest Nashville, TN, enrolls more than 600 Pre-K to 4th grade students yearly. The school emphasizes parental (as well as community) involvement to ensure their students are receiving the best support and education possible. Included in this involvement is a focus on participation in sports and activities outside of school.
Elissa Link, physical education teacher at Harpeth Valley Elementary, has been teaching in MNPS (Metro Nashville Public School system) for 30 years and has taught all grades and levels (including elementary, middle, and high school), however, she loves teaching and working with elementary students most of all.
When working with her students in their P.E. classes, Ms. Link above all else focuses on the fun factor of their activities.
“Our students look forward to PE because we structure our curriculum and learning around fitness and fun! They don’t even realize how much exercise they are getting because they are having so much fun playing the games and activities that we teach”.
Included within the list of fun activities, Ms. Link’s students regularly participate in the local Kids Marathon associated with the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. “We would train and “accumulate” miles and then on the day of the race, the students would run the last mile”.
Elissa Link was always drawn to sports largely in part due to her father’s occupation as a coach and a teacher. She focused this passion into running and ran track in high school (where she still holds the record for the 100m and 200m dash!) and college.
“Physical activity and fitness is something that I think about and make a part of my life every single day. Not only to keep my body healthy and in shape, but for my mental well being as well. I just feel better when I am being active and moving around!”
Ms. Link originally learned about the Marathon Kids program at a district-wide in-service meeting at the beginning of the 2022 school year and thought it would be a great way to motivate her students while running laps. Additionally, she was interested in the fitness tracking and reporting features of Marathon Kids. In the past, their P.E. class would track the number of laps their students ran using wooden popsicle sticks.
Although Elissa is in her first year of implementing the Marathon Kids program she’s already seeing the benefits. “We have a nice track around our playground area and always run/walk a mile during P.E... (the Marathon Kids program) is helping us keep up with the number of miles every student is running, and they are loving it!”
Weather permitting, Ms. Link’s students will run laps outside around their track 1-2 times per week. If they can’t go outside, they are in the gym where they are moving for at least 15-20 minutes nonstop.
“I can see the motivation (the Marathon Kids program) is providing to our students and (motivating them) to be on the leaderboard! The students love seeing their progress.”
When asked why Harpeth Valley Elementary uses Marathon Kids, Ms. Link dove into the unique fitness tracking and reporting features and the ease of use of the program:
“(We) love that we can see the leaders in each class, grade level and overall school leaders; and total miles run by each class/grade level/school is fun to see too. It is a great way for the students to actually see how much they are running, and this program allows for this. It does take a little bit of work and organization to get it started but once you have done the work on the front end, it is super easy to implement”.
Through the Marathon Kids program, Ms. Link’s students are more motivated to run and stay active than ever and (most importantly) are having lots of fun doing it!
Make Marathon Kids Your School's Running Partner