Elisabeth Ross discovered Marathon Kids at a homeschooling conference last spring and after starting a run club at home with her family, she decided to bring it to her Georgia-based FUEL Homeschool Co-op this school year. The co-op meets once monthly, and at their first meeting this month, they officially kicked off Marathon Kids with 19 elementary class participants and 17 middle/high school class participants.
“With just one session, the feedback I’m getting from the moms is wonderful. Homeschool moms have very little time to themselves and it’s really hard to use that time to exercise. They’re excited about the chance to exercise with their kids. I don’t really think of myself as having an inspiring story, but today I actually felt like a role model to the other moms.”
Elisabeth’s Marathon Kids Kickoff was integrated into their first co-op meeting for the year. She spread the word about Marathon Kids beforehand and prepared co-op families to join by sharing information from the Marathon Kids website, a personal testimony of her family’s experience, and emphasis on the Nike rewards. Elisabeth wore the Marathon Kids shirt she received as part of her family run club and built excitement by displaying the rewards and explaining how they would set goals, track mileage and earn each reward. The different planning tools Marathon Kids provided also enabled Elisabeth to structure their run club according to their unique environment and customize to fit their needs.
Elizabeth armed her co-op club with the Marathon Kids Session Cards, marked with which sessions were to be completed at home versus with the co-op. She created a Facebook Page to post updates and motivation for the participants, and is scheduling monthly meet-ups at local parks to log mileage together. Their kickoff was simple and part of their first, greater co-op meeting, which included running games from the Marathon Kids Session Cards for the elementary-aged kids and doing a mile of walk/run intervals with the middle and high school students.
“The Marathon Kids program is great for a lot of settings, but for homeschool moms, it gives the opportunity to involve the kids in exercising with you. Having my kids get excited about getting miles in has really enabled me to get out there and exercise on a regular basis – I am even exercising on vacation!”
As for advice for your run club’s season, Elisabeth says: “One thing Marathon Kids suggested in the family materials that totally changed the experience for me was to take out you ear buds and focus on the time with your kids. I had previously only ever run listening to music but decided to try it, and it has provided a lot of good non-confrontational talking time with my kids, especially with my ‘tween.’”