Welcome to the North Beach Running Club website designed to help other parents bring the joy of running to children at their school. Following is some background information on how our Club began.
In 2013, our PE teacher asked me to help her with some before-school training for her cross country runners. Being a runner myself, I happily volunteered. When the Inter-Schools competition was over the kids asked me if I would keep coming as they enjoyed running before school. I loved the fact that we had such keen kids so I approached our Headmaster to see if we could continue running the group. With the Headmaster’s approval, the Running Club was born meeting every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8am.
We decided we would take the children to the Bush Reserve surrounding the school where they could run in the bush rather than on a school oval. We would then play some running games on the oval afterwards. I would give them the basic skills and see what happened. As time went by, the interested kids started talking to their friends about the fun they were having and slowly more and more kids turned up. This was kids encouraging their friends to come along for some fun and exercise before school.
Today, we have more than 50 kids from Pre-primary to Year 6 coming to school an hour early twice a week to participate in this FREE voluntary running group. There’s no free breakfast, merit award or anything else as enticement – just the joy of participation. The kids absolutely love it as they get exercise and fun whilst the school gets a great bunch of engaged children when lessons commence. As an added benefit the school has drastically improved its performance in both cross-county and athletics Inter-schools competitions. We also have our own running shirt with the logo “Run4Fun” on the front.
As the group grew so too did the concerns that this is a non-school event without teacher supervision so we then needed to get all of the parents to sign a permission form. I told the kids that they would no longer be able to run until they got their mum or dad to sign the permission form. I had full compliance in just a few days. The kids hounded their parents to sign the form and the Headmaster, Steve Pash was astounded with the response – it was the fastest form return the school has ever experienced! We also invited parents to join their kids on these runs and it wasn’t long before we had at least ten parents helping out each week and enjoying the benefits of spending quality time with their children and getting fit at the same time!
It is clearly apparent that the success of this running group is the will of the children and their enthusiasm for their early morning run. Many parents have told me that the only days their children are dressed and ready for school are on running days. This demonstrates that KIDS WANT AND NEED THIS kind of exercise. You only have to look at the smiles on the faces of these kids to see how much they are enjoying what they are doing.
We run a variety of courses each week and always have two options to accommodate the different age groups and fitness levels. Each run is between 2kms to 3.5kms in distance. Interestingly enough, it is often our younger runners who do the longer courses and the older ones who opt for the shorter courses! All children from Pre-primary to Year 3 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and so far we have had no problems as the parents love running with their kids or they arrange for someone else to run with them.
We have had a number of Sports Stars who have visited our club over the years such as Caitlin Bassett and they are all impressed by the fact that kids are voluntarily coming early to school just for the joy of running. I think it is a bit like that Field of Dreams quote “build it and they will come”. It’s the children who’ve made this happen. They nag their parents to get up an hour earlier. Their enjoyment and enthusiasm has infected others. They are the ones who cheer and clap the slower runners at the end of the run. Not to mention the positive impacts teachers are reporting in the classroom. One teacher told me recently that one of her students who suffers from ADHD has been coming to Running Club for a few weeks. She told me that the days he did Running Club were his best “behaviour” days for the whole year!
There are so many heart-warming stories almost every week that bring me and some parents close to tears. We are now in our fifth year and the wonderful thing is, it’s still evolving and who knows where it will take us. And that is so exciting!