As a Physical Education teacher at a Title I school in Cornelius, Oregon, Coach Ashleigh Crunican knew that her students were dealing with issues like homelessness, abusive households, and struggles with academics and self-esteem.
And with many of the students living in a mobile park community on a busy road, they didn’t have the safest spaces to play in or run around, either.
The majority of the school population consists of first-generation American students living below the poverty line, so Coach Crunican was committed to providing a Marathon Kids run club to her students for free.
During the school week, Coach Crunican’s students get 1 hour of P. E. classes. With the help of Marathon Kids donors, the Cruisers run club members now get to spend another hour together snacking, goal-setting, playing games, and logging their miles.
Nicole, a third grader, has been joined on the track by her mother every Tuesday. Mom cheers on the runners, volunteers to track mileage, and even runs around the track with her daughter. As a family, they are pursuing better health.
After reaching her first milestone, Nicole looked surprised and said, “I can’t believe I ran a marathon!” Inspired by one of her high school volunteer coaches, Nicole now wants to pole vault and run high school cross country and track, just like her coach.
Fourth grade speed racer Yosgart thought he would only run one marathon, and now he’s already run two (52.4 miles!). An avid soccer player and dancer with the school’s Ballet Folklorico group, Yosgart has discovered his love of speed too.
“I like the way it feels when I can go really fast,” he says.
Coach Crunican has been thrilled with the results for the kids she coaches.
“I want to let you know how grateful I am. I really enjoyed cheering the kids on as they ran. Toward the end I started to get emotional and had to step away so the kids wouldn’t see me cry! It is so moving to think of what some of those kids are going through – and then to see them smiling, supported by caring adults, running around the field again and again. The run club will be such a valuable experience in so many ways for everyone involved!”
For more information on Marathon Kids grants, click here.