And the city of Lake Oswego is doing its best to inspire a love of running among third through eighth graders with the last of three free Cross Country One Mile Runs coming up this Thursday, September 27, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Uplands Elementary.
So Rupp would love to know that…
■These runs are free—just show up in time to register before the 4:30 p.m. start time. Thursday’s race is at Uplands Elementary, 2055 Wembley Park Road in Lake Oswego.
■The runs are for fun—not competition. With different age and skill levels sharing the same course, the emphasis is on individual performance. “We don’t keep track of what place they finish, just the time it took to run a mile,” explains Jean Ostrander, recreation specialist for the city of Lake Oswego. “It’s so encouraging because parents and high school cross country team members are out there rooting on the kids with so much enthusiasm. For many of them, to complete the mile is a great accomplishment.”
■The turnout is good—typically 30 kids will show up but organizers report as many as 60 at one time. And now, after Rupp’s inspiring Olympic performance, interest could be even higher.
■Parents can join in too. Some participants turn it into a family affair so the more the merrier!
■The seeds for future cross country participation are planted in these fun runs. “Since we started we have seen kids that participated in the runs are now on the high school teams, and their numbers have really grown over the past years,” explains Ostrander. Cross country athletes from both high schools lead off the runs with stretches and warm-up exercises followed by a motivating speech to the runners that includes information about the high school programs.
■Prizes are awarded to finishers. Every participant gets a Parks and Recreation One Mile ribbon marked with his or her time. Runners who enter more than once can try to improve on their time from the week before.
Make like Galen Rupp and steer your athlete-to-be over to Uplands Elementary this Thursday. Discover what Finnish runner, Juha Väätäinen meant when he said, “Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better.”
Questions? Call Ostrander at: 503.675.3901.
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Photo credit: Courtesy of zirconicusso/FreeDigitalPhotos.net