MOUNT HOPE — The first ever Active Southern West Virginia (Active SWV) Kids Run Club at the Mount Hope Energy Express site came to a successful finish late last month.
The Mount Hope Energy Express Kids Run Club was held biweekly in conjunction with the eight-week WVU Extension Energy Express program and consisted of 40 energetic elementary school students.
AmeriCorps Energy Express mentors completed an in-depth training from Active SWV that taught them how to lead a safe and effective Kids Run Club program. Mentors served as run club coaches to teach the students about the joy and benefits of physical activity.
All Active SWV Kids Run Clubs are unique, and can be tailored to fit the available space, equipment and goals of each location. The Mount Hope Energy Kids Run Club focused on non-competitive game play, rather than traditional lap running. During practices, participants played a variety of running intensive games or completed obstacle courses that utilized exercise equipment. The excitement and enthusiasm for physical activity at the Mount Hope Energy Express site was contagious. “It just feels so good to run,” one participant said.
The Mount Hope Energy Express Kids Run Club culminated in a heartwarming fun run event for participants and their family members. Children practiced warm-ups together, then were divided into two groups based upon age. Each group completed an age-appropriate fitness circuit around the school grounds, and cheered on the other group while they took turns having their running events. Energy Express mentors were stationed around the course to encourage participants and lead them in jumping jacks, cross crawls, footwork ladders and star jumps.
Participants were very engaged and excited during the fun run, organizers said. Runners who were hesitant to participate in the beginning of the program ran multiple laps through the fitness circuit with confidence and big smiles. The event was non-competitive. Participants ran laps at their own paces and started at different times, eliminating comparison between participants.
After cool-down exercises, the fun run ended with an award ceremony, led by Alma Logan, Energy Express site supervisor, who presented each participant with a medal and certificate from Active SWV in honor of their successful participation in the Kids Run Club program….