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Jarvis marathon—a lesson in perseverance

Group photo of 120 participants

Participants celebrate after completing the full 26.2 miles in October.

A Common Core question – What do the following have in common?

    • The old joke asks, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, “One bite at a time.”
    • In 604 BC, Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
    • More than 120 Jarvis Middle School students covered a marathon (26.2 miles) in October.

The answer—almost every task, no matter how big or intimidating can be accomplished one small bit at a time.

That lesson became a reality on a cool and sunny Friday, Oct. 31, when Jarvis Middle School held its Second Annual Kids’ Marathon. More than 120 students and staff completed five laps around the school track—1.2 miles—to bring their month-long running/walking/jogging totals to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

The marathon was part of a school-wide health and physical fitness challenge to cover a marathon distance in a little less than a month. Students kept daily logs of the distance they covered running in sports, walking to school, jogging for fun or anything other leg-powered activity.

For the final distance, teams of students handed runners a string of beads each time a runner completed a lap. At the end, each runner redeemed their five sets of beads for a medal, signifying they had completed the challenge. Non-runners filled the infield, cheering on their friends.

When the last of the runners/joggers finished the distance, student DJs kept the festivities going with dance tunes for everyone.

Not a running club—a healthy activity

The event’s goal is not to turn out Olympic-class marathoners, but to simply get students up off their sofas, away from their computers and game systems, and encourage much needed physical exercise. So, unlike the Boston or New York marathons where runners cover 26.2 miles in a day, participants in the Jarvis Kids’ Marathon run the full distance in little pieces.

Students each receive a sheet on which they log the distances they run each day. Students may run/walk:

  • During physical education classes,
  • At sports practices,
  • After school (on select evenings when staff are available to monitor the track), and
  • At home.

Breaking the total distance down into “bite-sized” pieces makes it possible for almost everyone to be successful. To run the distance, a student simply has to run/walk two-thirds of a mile each day—that’s about 2 2/3 laps around the school track.