- Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 22:57
- Published on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 22:57
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Thanks to Lori Ann Libby, Sealston Elementary health and physical education teacher, running has become more than a simple act of physical fitness for Fredericksburg metropolitan area elementary schools. Every Monday, images of second through sixth grade level kids running on the grounds of Sealston Elementary School have become a familiar sight.
In fact, since the day the elementary school opened its doors, the Sealston Running Club (SRC) has consistently competed beyond the foothills of King George. Some of the competitions include: Micha/YMCA 5K Turkey Trot & Coker Orthodontics/YMCA 1M Kid’s Run, King George Fall Festival 5k Run/Walk and Kids 1 Mile Fun Run, Chancellor Elementary School Run, Freedom Middle School Run, Coventry Games, Stafford Elementary School track meets, Richmond-area elementary school track meets, and University of Virginia track meets.
Physical fitness for many of the 112 members of the SRC has become more than a team sport — it is now a life style. It has brought a life changing focus on living a better quality of life for Libby’s athletes.
“Any time you do any physical activity it benefits yourself,” Libby said. “I often tell them that they may not see the benefits while they are 8, 9 or 10, but when they develop a good habit of fitness, and are old like us, it will prolong your heart, as well as keep your weight down.”
Libby originated the concept of running clubs 15 years ago, while teaching at King George Elementary. After hearing former King George Middle School track and field head coach Irving Taylor plead for a feeder system outside of the middle school, Libby started a running club.
In light of her legendary trailblazing efforts to promote the sport of competitive running, an award was named in her honor during the Great Train Race.
The running club had an immediate impact on the middle school program, and a far-reaching positive effect on the high school sports program. For example, in the first year of its existence, Libby’s running club encouraged 40 additional kids to join Taylor’s team. Many years later, former running club standouts such as Donta Smith would give the basketball and football programs a renewed sense of competitiveness.
While the club has received the support of the King George Booster’s Club, run by George Mattingly, it has empowered itself to raise funds through the selling of candles, Santa breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, and fall carnivals with a Halloween theme.
Building self-esteem and social skills through team concept associated with the running club contributes to a child’s development, both and in and out of the classroom.
“Ultimately the running club is about having fun, and promoting wellness through the mind, and body,” Libby said. “Some of the kids will never win a medal or a trophy, but they recognize the importance of improving their times from the last race — we always focus on personal bests.”
Throughout the school year, the club will meet every Monday until the week before Thanksgiving. Due to inclement weather and the lack of gym space, the club will meet again in the latter part of February.
Leonard M. Banks