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The after-school club challenges students to stay healthy and build endurance.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Third- and fourth-graders run around the school grounds at Cornelius Elementary School on Tuesday, May 1.A group of third- and fourth-grade students at Cornelius Elementary School have already completed their first marathon.

Cornelius Elementary's physical education teacher, Ashleigh Crunican, decided to bring the Nike-sponsored program Marathon Kids to the school for the first time this school year.

"Nike started it to kind of develop goal setting skills with physical activity for elementary school-aged students," Crunican said.

The nonprofit organization based out of Austin, Texas, aims to get kids motivated to stay active by setting goals for themselves, she said.

"Our Marathon Kids work at their own pace to run, or walk, four marathons — 104.8 miles — and we provide the training, rewards, tools and resources to keep them moving," the site states.

While it isn't a traditional marathon, the students work to run the equivalent 26.2 miles at their own pace over several weeks.

"I'm really excited about how proud they are when they run their first marathon," Crunican said. "I think it's really empowering for them."

Crunican heard about the program from her high school cross country coach who works in the Beaverton School District, she said, and decided to look into it.

"I went to a training at Nike earlier this fall, and then I wrote a grant to get our kids covered," Crunican said.

What typically costs $15 per student is now free to Cornelius students, thanks to the grant.

The group of 25 to 30 students meets every Tuesday afternoon for just over an hour after school.

"(First) we have a snack, and we maybe learn about an athlete or do some goal-setting," Crunican said. "Then we play games which equal one mile, so we play games for 20 minutes, and then we go outside and they run and we track their progress, so they work toward running a marathon."

With the positive feedback Crunican has received so far, she said she hopes to grow the program next year, offering it to more students in other grades at the school.



By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
503-357-3181
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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