Benefits of a Before-School Run Club

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Benefits of Before-School Run Club


At Liberty Tech Charter School, a classroom teacher named Dana Kessler created a before-school run club and opened it up to all students.

She was inspired to create a run club because she saw how much of a lasting impact that running gave her own children when they were in a running program in elementary school. They attended a before-school club multiple times a week and loved realizing their potential with each passing season. As they accumulated miles, they were rewarded with tokens which were a reminder of their accomplishments and a number to outrun the following season.

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Kessler watched as her kids participated year after year, eager to get to the track. She saw dedication towards improving upon prior years’ goals and observed as the program created an opportunity to try, fail, and succeed in a safe space. Kessler understood how running can be transformational and how a few laps per week contributed to a more well rounded child on and off the track.

Today, Kessler holds running club three times per week with most of her participants being third to fifth graders. She gets to school at 7 o’clock in the morning and provides thirty minutes of free, self-paced running time. She uses the Marathon Kids digital platform to track miles and then proceeds to pull reports to update students on their accumulated miles. When asked, she told us she appreciates the ease, the ability to scan laps effortlessly so her students can see the data and set expectations for themselves for their next session, just as her own children did.

3rd-grade teacher Destiny Langford: "They are so excited to get to school and have some healthy competition. It seems like they are more alert!"

Kessler wants to grow her club, to provide more children with “a positive vibe to the start of the day and to get their bodies and brains ready for learning.” 

She understands the concept of exercising before the school day is an opportunity to be social and release energy before sitting still for an extended amount of time; she could tell a difference in their focus, attention and ultimately, their grades over time. She and other teachers have observed changes, not only in their students’ physiological adaptations through running, but positive behavior changes and a stronger ability to focus in those who attend.

"This is our school's first year having a running club and it has been so much fun! The kids and teachers love it…I'm so glad that I found Marathon Kids-thank you!"

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