Kids get involved in running
For some time, the board of directors of the local running club, The Sierra TrailBlazers, had discussed how to get more kids involved in running so they could experience the fun of the sport.
In the summer of 2002, then club president (and current five-time Western States 100 mile finisher) Peggy Davidson put the agreed-upon goal into action by heading up The Sierra TrailBlazers Kids Club, assisted by Fred and Gayle Lossman.
“My whole idea was to get the kids involved in running so they could see what it was like,” Peggy said recently, remembering how she didn’t start until she was in her 40s.
The Kids Club meets every Tuesday night at the Nevada Union High School track, from 6-7 p.m., beginning each year when daylight savings starts in April and ending when daylight savings is over, in October (when it gets too dark at 6 p.m.).
This year, former Nevada Union cross country standout, Matt Freitas, has joined Peggy in leading the kids in fun track and/or cross country running and running games.
Depending on how many kids show up, relays may be run, which the kids enjoy. There have been up to 15 children showing up some weeks and they are given choices about what they will do.
“Matt and I give them a choice of a cross country or track workout,” Peggy said. “If they want to divide up, Matt will take them out cross country and I will stay on the track with the others. We teach them how to do relays. We show them stretches. Matt has a really fun running tag game we do with the kids on the grass inside the track. You have two teams, and they each have a different colored cloth hanging out the side of their shorts. You chase them until one team gets all theirs taken away. If the parents are there, we try to get them involved, too.”
Electrolyte drinks are provided, as well as a variety of snacks, at no charge.
The only requirement is that the children are members of The Sierra TrailBlazers, which has an annual family membership fee of only $25, which covers insurance, monthly meetings and the monthly newsletter, The Sierra TrailBlazer, which features editorials, member race results, news and a list of local businesses that give discounts to club members. (More information can be found at the club Web site, http://www.nccn.net/~strc).
These fun running events help the kids get in shape for the kids’ race at the Clydesdale Classic at the fairgrounds in September, held this year on Sept. 19th. (More information on this race, which has an early registration fee of $8 for children 12 and under, can be found online at http://www.theschedule.com.)
In the inaugural year of The Sierra TrailBlazers Kids Club, light green T-shirts were made and given to the children in the club, featuring artwork and the “Cheetahs” name. There are still some available for regular attendees. I enjoyed seeing all the kids running the Clydesdale Classic Kids Run two years ago in their matching Cheetahs T-shirts.
There is some discussion about possibly holding track meets for children during the summer at the Nevada Union track next year, similar to the Auburn track meets, which are held every other week for three consecutive weeks in July and August.
For more information about The Sierra Trailblazers Kids Club, contact Peggy Davidson by phone at 265-5588 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peggy can also be called if there are any concerns about possible cancellations due to rain or overly smoky days.
Steve Bond, who lives in Grass Valley, is a competitive runner who writes columns and feature stories on running for The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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