August 06, 2014 - Kids rounded the northwest corner of Clarkston Elementary last Thursday and kept their pace as they finished their 1-mile run.
Lucia Vanoplinus and Ben Guzal keep pace with each other on the track. Photos by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
"They are fast," said Sandi Larkins, as some of the kids finished within seven minutes.
Every Thursday since June 26, kids from ages 5- to 11-years-old have met at the Clarkston Junior High School track for Clarkston Fit Kids, a summer running club sponsored be Crim Fitness Foundation.
Each one-hour session begins with stretching exerciss with Clarkston Elementary Physical Education teacher Lane Hurd to get the muscles ready before the kids do a few activities and run.
For their July 31 session, the kids ran a few laps on the track and stopped at stations to work on agility and also did burpies. Then, they ran a 1-mile cross country course going up to Clarkston Junior High School ballfields around to Clarkston Elementary, through the playground and through another field before coming back to the junior high's track.
"The kids really love it," Larkins smiled. "Last week we did our first 1-mile and there were kids who finished in seven minutes. It is really impressive what they have been able to do."
Summer Polonkey said it was fun to run around the track and with friends before she took off to join friends already in motion.
"It's great," said Stephanie, her mom. "I have two boys in it also and it is important to promote the healthy lifestyle when you have other kids doing it with you. The boys are in Clarkston Chiefs so we are using it as extra training time and being healthy."
The running club started because Larkins, a Young Fives Kindergarten Teacher at the Early Childhood Center, received a grant for her Young Fives' class from the Crim. She added the Crim provides a summer running club.
"I have worked in Clarkston Schools for 15 years and a lot of our staff are runners," Larkins added. "We have been doing a lot of different challenges like this year is 100 miles of run, walk or bike. I have been a runner and I got my girls into it."
Larkins also knew children also ran because their parents and she asked Hurd to be a co-captain.
"Lane and I are both involved in Blessings in a Backpack as well and we wanted to help on this side," she continued. "He was able to have training through the Crim on different things like eating, mindfulness and keeping bodies in shape."
From there, the running club was opened up to students from Clarkston Elementary and Bailey Lake Elementary, since Larkins' daughters attended the school.
"We have had a great outpouring support from parents," she smiled. "It has been a lot of fun."
They have had 40 kids for the Clarkston Fit Kids and the kids paid five dollars for the whole summer. It included a T-shirt and entry to the Crim Kids Invitational, Aug. 15, which Larkins noted sign up for the invitational ended last week.
With all the hard work from training for an hour every Thursday, the kids will be ready for the event.
"She is great at organizing and Lane has a passion to get all the kids fired up," said Stephanie. "I was glad when she got it started. They have a great turnout and we have a lot of little ones."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.