The Sachem School District is one of the largest districts on Long Island, and therefore has 12 individual elementary schools. One of these elementary schools, Chippewa runs a wonderful fitness event every year, called “Mini Marathon Day.” It’s an event that the entire school participates in, which includes the children of all grades K-5th, their teachers, and even some of their parents as well. Each student is challenged to complete a mile, whether he/she runs, walks or a combination the ultimate goal is to push yourself and finish the race. The day is complete with an opening ceremony, live DJ, cheering stations, t-shirts, medals, and tons of fun.
The morning began with opening remarks from Chippewa teacher and event coordinator Jim Byrne, followed by a pump up cheer by former Chippewa grad and mini marathon winner Gary Comstock (who is currently an Economics teacher at the high school, one of who I had the pleasure of having when I was at North) who lead the students in the famous Chip-Chip-Chippewa Cheer! This year I was invited as a guest speaker and participant. The students were warm and receptive and to my pleasant surprise many of them had heard about race walking before! I encouraged the kids to live an active lifestyle and to always seek to challenge one’s self, both in sports and in life. Next up on the mic was Principal Patricia Aubrey who shared with the students the memory of Grace Peshkur, a former Chippewa student who passed away in 2009, who the event is now in honor of. A picture of Grace being pushed in her wheelchair during the mini marathon was on display for the students. Grace’s picture symbolized so much more than words can say, it showed courage, perseverance, and truly embodied what it meant to seek out and conquer a challenge, it was also a great reminder that no matter what your state of physical fitness is, you too can participate!
Then it was time for the races! The first race of the day was between the teachers and parents. I was really impressed, not necessarily with the winning times but more so with the parents and teachers that were not buff fitness gurus. It was the perfect example to the students that no one should make an excuse not to try and everyone is capable of completing the challenge set before them. If I had to guess I bet a lot of kids were inspired that day by their parents and teachers; who whether they realize it, or want to admit it or not, that these adults are their true role models. Way to go parents and teachers!
The next series of races were for the children in grades K-3rd. There were a lot of fantastic performances and great efforts all around. Later in the day were the 4th and 5th grade races. This time I jumped in and ran first with the 4th grade girls and then with the 5th grade girls.
There were wonderful crowds of students cheering along the course to really help motivate the racers. I started out in the back of the pack and worked my way forward, while this tactic worked well for the 4th grade girls, the 5th grade girls were too fast and I never got a chance to run with the first 3 finishers! Wow, way to go girls, I am very impressed!
After the races there were pictures, an awards ceremony, and lots and lots of t-shirt signing for me. I really enjoyed being part of Chippewa’s Mini Marathon Day and hope that this event catches on at the other 11 elementary schools. If this was a district wide event you could even organize a championship race where the top three from each school competed against the other schools…that would sure be an exciting race! Congrats again to all participants both young and older, speedy fast, and smartly paced. I wish all Chippewa students and families the best of luck with their future fitness challenges and remember the greater the challenge, the more satisfying the feeling of accomplishment!