After School Running Programs Made Easy with Marathon Kids
Oakland Craig Public Schools consist of two small rural schools (an elementary school and a Jr/Sr high school) in Northeast Nebraska. With just over 400 students between the two schools, the community around Oakland Craig Public Schools could be considered very tight knit.
While the community is closely connected, the students’ opinions on physical activity and running are anything but. Motivating students to want to run is an uphill battle for Oakland Craig PE teachers and after school program leaders and it is something they are focused on changing.
Alana Pearson is the After School Program Director at Oakland Craig Public Schools. Running and physical activity is something that has been a major aspect of her life since she was young. Running cross country and track in high school, she has since gone on to run multiple half marathons and trail runs. Although she doesn’t run as much in recent years, she still finds enjoyment in hiking, walking, and biking regularly and loves the health benefits she receives from those activities.
Mrs. Pearson’s passion and dedication to physical activity is something she hopes to instill in the students that attend her after school programs. It has become a primary focus in her programs because she understands that physical activity provides benefits that go far beyond physical health. With regular exercise, Mrs. Pearson notes that students are able to focus better within the classroom.
Mrs. Pearson and the Oakland Craig Public Schools after school program first became interested in Marathon Kids after seeing the kids running program in action. Staff were able to observe a local University of Nebraska - Lincoln extension educator start their very own Marathon Kids run club and liked what they saw. After seeing what the running program had to offer, Mrs. Pearson became interested in using the program for her after school activities and eventually discovered a local opportunity to train the staff to become Marathon Kids coaches.
The Marathon Kids running program has proven to be very beneficial to Oakland Craig Public Schools for many reasons: the primary one being its simplicity allows for staff to provide a well-rounded and exciting running program despite experiencing staffing shortages; an issue that is currently affecting many schools across the country. Thanks to the Marathon Kids program’s ease of use and focus on technology, fewer staff members and teachers are needed for implementation.
One of Mrs. Pearson’s favorite aspects of the Marathon Kids running program is the ability to track and display her student’s running data including miles and time ran to show students how close they are to running the length of a marathon.
Collecting the students' activity for the day is an easy event as Marathon Kids provides scannable ID cards for each student in the program.
Mrs. Pearson uses an iPad at the end of each session to scan her students Marathon Kids ID cards. That data is then automatically uploaded onto a dashboard for easy access and sharing.
Mrs. Pearson makes sure that the data she collects goes to good use and is always shared with her after school program students. Each week she will pull mileage totals for the week as well as the year so far to share with each student. Oakland Craig Public Schools also use the Marathon Kids track poster and goal sheet to visually show students how far they’ve run as a group. This display is posted in their lunchroom so students can always be reminded of how far they’ve come.
The Marathon Kids program and the ability for the students to view their own running data motivates them to take their running seriously and to compete with as well as uplift their fellow classmates. By seeing how far they’re progressing, students are more invested in their daily level of physical activity - providing them with the building blocks for a healthier lifestyle and success inside the classroom.
Make Marathon Kids Your School's Running Partner