School run clubs: getting kids active, one step at a time

These days, finding a fun activity for kids — that doesn’t include a device — can feel like mission impossible. But schools across the city have found a simple way to engage their students, and it’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

Run clubs in schools are led by teachers who feel passionately about running and the community.

Wally Peddle, a runner and a grade two teacher at St. Isidore Catholic School, started his club two years ago when he heard that the Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon let kids register to run the last kilometre. When other kids heard about the race — and medals — he had lots of other kids who wanted to try it out as well.

“Once they start, they’re hooked,” he says. “They get outside and run and realize that it’s fun. They don’t have to just sit around on screens.”

He runs alongside his students, and is proud to say that last year one of his grade two students ran the kilometre race in under five minutes — an impressive feat for a new runner.

“I told him, ‘you did it faster than me!’” says Wally. “He got all excited about it.”

Cathy Takahashi, a runner and teacher at Stittsville Public School, also runs alongside her students. She loves to see her students come together as a community.

“They’re so enthusiastic.” says Cathy. “They love getting together.”

Teachers can take advantage of the free Kids Run Ottawa elementary school program to start their own run club. The program includes simple guidelines and an opportunity to introduce kids to commitment and results in an active environment.

The program takes teachers and students through 14 health and fitness-themed weeks, with fitness tips, suggested workouts and active learning exercises…and of course, running. Kids track their kilometres leading up to the Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on Sunday, May 27, 2018, where they complete the final 1.2K of 42.2K.

These programs have kids excited about staying active all year round. Some of Wally’s students even participated in races over the summer to keep it up, and Cathy has noticed growing confidence amongst the most difficult students.

“Everyone has to start somewhere,” says Wally. “And when they start here and now at this age, it’s perfect. It’s a stepping stone. And it’s absolutely electrifying.”

Daily physical activity made fun and easy! Find out how you can get your kids active with the Kids Run Ottawa Elementary School program.