05 November 2011

Going Far

I ran a 5K with students and other staff members from my school this morning. The Go Out For A Run (GoFar) program was started to get kids active and each year students all over the country train for and run a 3.1 mile race. Registration is open to anyone, so parents, family and community members also run.

This was my first GoFar race and it was a great experience to see kids out running with their parents and friends. Isaac was too young to participate this year, but I am already hoping that he will be running with me in a couple of years.

The program includes lessons to be taught in conjunction with the weekly workouts. They stress health, safety and sportsmanship. One of the things that I like about running is that I am my own competition. I don't run as much as I used to, but in each race I try to run just a little faster than the time before. Life is already so competitive and stressful, even for the students, that I like how the GoFar program stresses personal challenges and goals, rather than beating the runner next to you.

The PE teacher at my school uses the book You're a Good Sport, Miss Malarkey by Judy Finch at the beginning of each school year. He makes a point of talking about sportsmanship with the students in addition to the discussions in the GoFar curriculum. Kids these days see so many examples of poor sportsmanship, that one book isn't going to counter the prevailing negative images, but it at least gives an alternative view of competition.

Isaac has played t-ball and soccer and taken taekwondo. We are trying to help him find a sport he enjoys, something his father and I never had. Until I started running, I never felt athletic. I focused on academics and dreaded gym class. I want Isaac to at least be able to have fun in PE, even if he is not a top athlete. Programs like GoFar which emphasize the experience and health benefits over the competition will, hopefully, help him and other kids be willing to try a new activity without worrying about being the best.

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