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Advice from a Successful Program - La Mesa School

Advice from a Successful Program - La Mesa School

Getting Started: A great example of how to start the JUST RUN program is La Mesa Elementary School in Monterey. Two dedicated and enthusiastic moms, Julie Lemmon and Jefanna Tipton decided to take the idea to the school administration and met with a very supportive principal. They then sent a flyer out to all grades and the one flyer plus word of mouth resulted in 50 children participating in their after school program.

Meetings: They decided to start by meeting one day a week on Mondays at 3:15 for an hour. They hope to increase the days later.

The Course: The moms measured and layed out a 1 mile course around a park near La Mesa Elementary school and put out cones to mark every 10th of a mile.

Separating into Groups: There are children from Kindergarten up through 6th grade and at the first session, based on ability, there were 4 running groups formed. They are mostly based on age but there are some younger kids that run with and keep up with faster groups.

Stretching and warm up: Each session is started with a group stretching session for warm up.

Advice: The moms say, "We tried to do some structure but the kids just really like to run the course to see how they can do. We tried doing some relay races but they turned out too chaotic. We have done some ladder runs where each group runs in a line and they take turns going from the back to the front of the group to set the pace. Every other week they like to JUST RUN the course to see how fast they can go.

With the younger kids we do some red light, green light, orange light drills so they can learn pace a bit better. They tend to know their own limitations and slow down and speed up as they feel. We have found that when we tell them not to stop until they reach a cone marker that helps their endurance as they often go a bit further when they feel like stopping.

After only a month, we have kids already in the first group that are running the 1 mile course twice. We already see increases in endurance and sense of pace."

Recognition: "We give verbal recognition each session to those who run in between our sessions and who run with their moms and dads. We already have kids that are close to accumulating 26 miles and doing 26 good deeds and are eager to get the JUST RUN incentive shirt the program provides."