Tyler Today April/May 2017 : Page 72

Kids Marathon Challenge CREATING HEALTHIER KIDS ONE MILE AT A TIME by Amy Pawlak Fit Cit Tyler Steering Committee Completing a marathon is no easy task. While it may be on many people’s bucket list of things to accomplish, only a small percentage of runners across the country actually complete one in their lifetime. In 2015, just over 500,000 Americans completed a marathon race according to Running USA. Finishing 26.2 miles is certainly a rare accomplishment of which to be extremely proud. Just ask the more than six hundred Tyler ISD elementary students who completed their first Fit City Tyler Kids Marathon Challenge. These students accumulated 26.2 miles (the distance of a marathon) of running/walking laps over a twelve-week time frame before and after school. Their dedication earned them a medal and a certificate, but most of all, a chance to join the rare group of individuals who can say they have completed a marathon. In 2013, Fit City Tyler introduced a national student wellness program to Tyler ISD schools called 5-2-1-0 Goes to School. The 5-2-1-0 Program encourages students to lead a healthier daily lifestyle by eating “5” servings of fruits and vegetables, limiting screen time to “2” hours, participating in “1” hour of physical activity and consuming “0” sugary drinks. After evaluating student behavior changes as a result of the program, the area least affected proved to be the one hour of physical activity per day. Therefore, Terrence Ates, Fit City Tyler Steering Committee member and Director of Community Outreach for NET Health, came up with an idea for a fun and engaging new program: the Kids Marathon Challenge. The Kids Marathon Challenge began in 2016, in response to a $2,200 grant awarded to Tyler ISD to enhance the physical activity aspects of the 5-2-1-0 Goes To School Program. The goal of the Marathon Challenge is for students to log the distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) over several months in the spring. The P.E. teacher at each Tyler ISD elementary campus would keep track of the total number of students who reached that goal, and the P.E. teachers who had the highest percentage of students to log the distance of a marathon would receive a financial donation to their P.E. department. “The Marathon Challenge was created to provide continued awareness of the “1” -encouraging students to get at least “1” hour of play every day, even on weekends,” Ates said. “Last school year, there were three campuses who achieved the highest percentage of students to complete the challenge -Caldwell Elementary, Jack Elementary and Griffin Elementary.” Fit City Tyler expects even more elementary campuses to achieve a high percentage of students who complete the challenge. 72 APRIL / MAY 2017

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