By Guest Blogger Karen Grossman
The starting line is abuzz. Energy surges upward from the soles of bouncy feet, mouths curl into anxious grins, and conversation flows with excitement. The kids behind the line know what to do. They run. They remember to pace, not to grip their hands into fists, to hydrate, and to have fun.
Twice a year in the Triad, more than 2,000 kids, families, and community members participate in the Go Out for a Run (GO FAR) 5K and Fun Run. The event culminates weeks of training at a school or afterschool program, but kids who don’t belong to a club can also participate in the event. It’s open to everyone.
GO FAR is a nonprofit running club that promotes good health and well-being by introducing kids to running and training to run a mile or 5K in eight to ten weeks. For more than ten years, this national program has inspired kids not only to run their first race, but also to keep on running.
Sophomore Christian Coggins ran his first GO FAR 5K in first grade. “I immediately felt a sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line and was given my medal,” Coggins said. “The whole event was so much fun as a kid and even now.”
Now on the cross country team at Wheatmore High School in Trinity, Coggins drew upon his GO FAR experience on the track. “GO FAR prepared me for cross country and track by motivating me to run all of those years, making it a much easier transition to cross country,” he said. “I’m really enjoying cross country because it allows me to be able to run with my friends every day after school and has such a high competitive aspect.”
Parents and coaches see the benefits of the program off the track. Anna Quarles, a GO FAR coach from Bethany Elementary in Rockingham County, noticed changes outside of GO FAR practices. “[The kids] get a sense of joy and belonging at GO FAR,” she said. “They have a great time running and they feel that they belong to this unique group of students. The best part is when you see kids of different grade levels saying hello to each other all because of the bond they have formed at GO FAR.”
For Dawn Steelman of Davie County, her son Matt’s confidence changed. Never really into other sports, Matt found his passion in running. “He saw what he did in the first race,” she said. “He saw that he could excel at that sport and the next time he wanted to do better. GO FAR has been a good platform for him. It has inspired a fire within him.”
Kids who don’t have the program at their school can still participate in a GO FAR event by registering at the GO FAR website atwww.gofarclub.org/register-now.
Family members are encouraged to run or walk with their kids. “The Triad GO FAR event on Nov. 15 is a wonderful activity for families to get out and move together,” said Julie Hill, GO FAR executive director. “Join the fun and you can go far with us!”
The next Triad GO FAR race day will be Nov. 15 at Showplace in High Point. For more information about this program or to register for the race, visit www.gofarclub.org.
For more information on GO FAR, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored by GO FAR