Pelham 5K began their running adventures Saturday, September 19, with their first 5K run as a team. The running group started at the beginning of the school year and is the first of its kind in Grundy County.
Principal, Jamie Hill began talks with Mary Jo Gallagher, Coordinated School Health, and Tonya Garner, Public Health Educator, during the summer about starting a 5K program at the school. Once the school year started, new uniforms, practice schedules, and three dedicated coaches were excited to begin the new program. The Grundy County Health Council, Coordinated School Health, and School Nutrition had funds available from the CDC 1305 grant that provides S10K in innovation dollars every year. With the grant funding, the 5K team plans on participating in several 5K races throughout the year.
Students in Pelham 5K train three times a week and are encouraged to run even more on their own. There are great opportunities to get moving in and around Pelham with several great parks and the Mountain Goat Trail within miles of the valley. The students have trained hard and are even more excited since they ran their first race. Several students already want to run a half marathon.
“This program is not just to run, it is to teach students discipline and give them opportunities to learn new ways to develop lifelong skills in order to have optimum health throughout their lives”, stated Tonya Garner, Public Health Educator.
Studies show that increasing physical activity can improve grades – another reason the students needed more opportunities for physical activities. The students and staff at Pelham Elementary feel blessed to have a principal as dedicated as Jamie Hill. He saw the need was there, and took the steps to get a program in place. Pelham 5K will continue to grow as the word gets out how much fun it is.
Hill stated, “It was so rewarding to watch our runners fight through adversity and encourage each other during the 3.1 miles. I loved the support that we had from our parents. Seeing the Pelham caravan pull out of the parking lot at 7 a.m. was a wonderful sight to see.”
If you are interested in starting a 5K club in your school or community, or if you have a 5K event, please contact Tonya Garner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 931-967-3826.