Each season the Mindess Running Club does the Popsicle stick challenge. This is the session where we practice “Farther not Faster.” We work on pacing and breathing. (which is tricky for us grown-ups, let alone 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders)
Each time a runner crosses the start line, they’re handed a Popsicle stick. At the end of the practice, we tally up the number of Popsicle sticks and figure out how far they ran – TOGETHER.
Our goal is for the kids to run 26.2 miles as a team. (The kids’ goal is to beat the current record.) The fall club set the record at 37 miles, with a few more members, and cooler weather. Today was hot and sunny and many of the kids hadn’t transitioned to shorts yet, so we asked the kids to go slow and steady and do their best for these conditions.
This running club blew these coaches away! Their pacing was great. They took water when they needed. They took walk breaks when they needed them. And they helped friends when that was needed.
As we reached the end of practice, we told the runners, they could stop if they wanted to or felt too hot – I think every one felt like stopping and each of them chose to try do one more lap. They weren’t fast laps, there were more frequent walk breaks, there were lots of sweaty red faces, and there were tons of smiles!
When the time was up, there was a lot of collapsing and water bottles emptied or dumped over heads. As the kids recovered, Coach Emily and Coach Lisa counted up the sticks and did the calculations. Remarkable..! On this first hot day of Running Club, with a smaller team, they logged 40.5 miles – TOGETHER!
We are incredibly proud of our runners! Not for the number they ran, not for breaking the record, but for being willing to try to do one more lap than they thought was possible for them!
These kids did the impossible. With this mindset – imagine what else they can do!