NATIONAL RUNNING DAY|
If you didn't participate this year, then mark your calendar for 2010 and plan a day that you will remember all year. Use your efforts to inspire others and while you share your love of running as the runners in the little community of Creswell, Oregon did this year.
- Carol Goodrow
Article submitted by Dr. Lonn Robertson
NATIONAL RUNNING DAY
Largest Celebration of National Running Day - Small Town, Oregon
National Running Day may have been missed in most towns across America but not in this one, little community in Oregon. Creswell, population 4500, is located 10 miles south of Eugene, "Track Town USA". As popular as track and field is in the area, the local running club discovered that nobody in Oregon had planned a celebration for the inaugural National Running Day campaign, June 3. They took it upon themselves to create what turned into a wildly successful day.
According to co-organizer, Dr. Lonn Robertson, "Our mission was to enhance the idea that running and walking are fun - especially when done in community." His cohort, a local ICU nurse, Dianna McMahon, added: "We didn't want to emphasize that it was good for you. That sounded too much like taking medicine. We want kids and adults to realize that it is fun to run and play together."
The day's events focused around a "Sixteen Hour Challenge," an effort to keep someone running or walking at all times on the local track or bark trail . The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rick Stuber, started the challenge at 4:30 a.m., carrying the Stars and Stripes as he ran his share of miles. During the day, hundreds of adults and children covered the track as they accumulated miles. At 8:30 that night, the official end of the challenge, with thunderstorms quickly approaching, there were still five runners doing their miles.
To keep the younger children motivated and excited, each participant was given an "I Am A Creswell Runner" bookmark. For every quarter mile they walked or ran, they were given a star sticker to put on their bookmarks. According to Robertson, "We only anticipated each kid getting 4 or 5 stars, but by the end of the day many kids nearly covered their bookmarks, making it look more like the Milky Way."
The 500, "I Am A Creswell Runner" T-shirts were given out in random drawings. McMahon said, "At first we considered giving shirts for the most miles or for winning one of the many races or relays. Then we realized that would put too much emphasis on competition and not on just doing it because it was fun and felt good."
The only real competition for the day's events was a challenge between the elementary, middle, and high schools. The principals of each school challenged each other to see who could get the most participation between their staffs. The beautiful glass trophy became so coveted that two awards finally had to be given. Best Participation went to the middle school as all but one staff member did at least a mile. However, the grade school stomped the competition for the Most Miles trophy, nearly doubling the miles of anyone else.
All totaled, the little town put down 2,380 miles with more than 1000 adults and kids contributing. Everyone was excited to know that they covered almost the exact distance between Creswell and Runner's World's Pennsylvania office. McMahon ran 29 miles, the furthest of any participant, running intermittently while she kept things organized. Several grade school kids raced their way to over nine miles, often challenging Robertson: "Hey Mister, would you race me just one more mile?"
Dr. Robertson concluded, "We knew we had succeeded when the grade school principal called me the next day and said she had 200 kids wanting to know "When do we get to go run with those guys again?"
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