100 Mile Club keeps St. Vrain Valley elementary students moving forward

Growing up longeing horses, holding a long lead rope while a horse circled for exercise and training, gave Kara Lubin a model for letting kids horse around as they warm up to workout academically.

"Longeing helps horses to calm down and pay attention," she said.

Lubin wondered if making time and space for kids to walk, skip, or run laps — minus the halter and lead rope — would help them settle down to study.

In 1992, in the midst of medal hoopla related to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the then young special education teacher in her second year in the California public school system launched her 100 Mile Club.

The initiative gave her students an opportunity in class to kick up their heels with the goal of logging 100 miles over the school year to earn a medal.

It worked, body and mind.

Today, the Norco, Calif.-based 100 Mile Club reports more than 100,000 participants in more than 1,000 schools registered in all 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Japan, Lubin said.

That track record, along with successful 100 Mile Club participation in half of St. Vrain Valley School District elementary schools last school year, prompted The Colorado Health Foundation this school year to award the district $1.4 million to rollout the program in all 31 elementary schools.

Miles to 'the moon and back'

During the 2014/2015 school year, 1,878 students across 15 elementary schools voluntarily participated and logged 107,405.3 miles in the supervised program on school grounds either before or after school.

"The number of miles students ran last year equals running around the Earth more than four times," Paige Jennings, the district's physical activity grant coordinator/physical education coordinator, said. "This year, our district goal is to run to the moon and back, like that saying, 'I love you to the moon and back."

At its closest orbit, the moon is 225,623 miles from Earth.

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