Normally running through the hallways at school might result in a trip to the principal’s office. But at Elmwood Elementary School – running through the halls is how they begin their day! Every Thursday morning before school, nearly 100 students run laps throughout the building as part of the Running Club.
The group is open to first through fifth graders in the morning, and kindergartners during lunch and is led by long-time Elmwood teacher, and now retiree, Dave Cleveland. Mr. Cleveland has run more than 30 marathons and hopes to instill his love for running in his students.
“Running is a great life-long habit they should do for their health and fun,” said Mr. Cleveland. “It’s inexpensive. All you need is a pair of shoes and it just makes life more enjoyable.”
“I heard some of my friends were doing it and that it was fun, so I joined,” said AJ Landorf, fourth grader at Elmwood. “I’ve done a few 5Ks and it helps me work up for my races.”
“I joined the club in first grade because I like to run and I met friends,” said fourth grader Ayden Lau. “I play soccer, so this helps with endurance.”
Mr. Cleveland says the club couldn’t be possible without the many parent volunteers who come every week and help. “The parent involvement is fantastic. We have about six adults show up every time,” he said.
In 2015, Elmwood’s Running Club received a WOW! Prize from the Naperville Education Foundation (NEF) to purchase lap trackers. Each student keeps track of how many laps they’ve run throughout the building over the year. The students will move to their track outside after Spring Break.
They also meet over the summer to run together on Saturdays. They recently applied for a 2017 NEF Grant to expand their club to include all Naperville 203 elementary students.