Monday, December 15, 2008

Sometimes it Just Takes a Friend

How many times do we get to know exactly what our children are thinking, how they feel, what makes them tick??

On the day of 100 Mile Club Medal Ceremonies last June at McKinley Elementary School in Corona, CA, it was quietly and subtly mentioned that SOMEONE IN THE ROOM broke the secret 100 Mile Club record of 221 miles.

No names were mentioned, we just stated that the Magic Number (aka 221 miles) was passed by someone.

Two kids shattered the secret record last June. Doesn't matter who they are. They know who they are, and the pride they feel is no match for a trophy or plaque or extra medal.

Read on and you might figure out who they are, too.

So. Why is a name never officially associated with the most miles completed within a chapter? Well, remember...according to our Mission and Philosophy:

  • The 100 Mile Club is a personal journey toward a very personal goal.

  • It is not a race with anyone but yourself.

  • We NEVER compare students.

  • We never race or compete between classes or students to see who makes 100 miles “first”.

  • 100 Mile Club is not an external competition. The competition is with your biggest rival: Yourself.

  • The personal successes students feel while on the 100 Mile Club journey are unquantifiable but ever-present. We celebrate those most of all.

  • 100 Mile Club encourages team spirit by asking students to work together to help one another reach their goals. Often, we see the more athletic students encouraging and mentoring those that might need that little extra boost…it is wonderful to see students cheer for each other or run together to just make it one more lap.

The friends pictured below worked side by side to meet and exceed their own personal goals. Sure there was a healthy dose of competition. It's what drives us all.

And they all made it.

And they did it together. One mile at a time.

And at the end of the year, they celebrated together.

Each one of these students felt responsible not only for their own success but for the success of their classmates.

Their teammates.

Their friends.

Chad (center), and Celia (front) forged a unique partnership and friendship over the course of the year. Their classmates (surrounding them) were right there, mile after mile after mile. Truly an inspiration.

Trust me when I say that I am no easy sell on whether my 100 Mile Club kids truly internalize and display the lifeskills we ask for during the year. I ask a lot. My expectations are WAY high.

These kids truly lived every block of Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success. That is no easy task.

Industriousness, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation...all the way up to Poise and Confidence and even achieveing Coach's Definition of Success: Being at your best when your best is needed and enjoying a difficult challenge.

They did it.

It is rare that we get to hear the true and unedited thoughts of one of our 100 Mile Club participants.

This entry is from one of the students in this class, Mr. Chad Mackie:

The 100 Mile Club Champion

by Chad Mackie, 2008

“GO! GO! GO!” My class shouted to me as I finished my last lap of the school year. My entire class was cheering me on, but not always. I would like to talk about how I ran 242 miles during my 5th grade year with the help of my friend Celia Halpin. Celia was always there cheering me on, teaching me that a good trusted friend is the biggest necessity of all.

The 100 Mile Club is a program that lets students run during the school day and kids try to reach 100 miles by the end of the year. In fourth grade our class would always watch the other sixth grade classes go out and run around the field. We wanted to run, and why we couldn’t, I didn’t know. Three fourths into the year our teacher let us start running. By the end of the year, I only reached 28 miles, because I chose to walk the laps instead of run.

But in fifth grade, well, that is a whole different and much better story.

My fifth grade year we got an awesome teacher. She was a very big 100 Mile Club fan and let us run every day for 9-10 minutes and for some reason I decided to run. But when I say run, I mean run, full on run. I would run with Celia, side by side, lap by lap. Only an injury would keep me from running with Celia.

One kid was a really fast runner and he was about 4 miles ahead of me. But I wanted to have more miles than everyone, not to brag at the end of the year, but to have a big goal and try to achieve it. I also went to the Walk for Health, which gave me only an extra three miles.

We began to notice, but our teacher finally told us, she was pregnant! This meant no teacher. It also meant a permanent sub. Luckily, the sub was awesome too, she let us run for 13 minutes every day! I was running more than two miles every day. So was Celia.

Believe it or not there was still another problem. That kid was still ahead of me.

Half of the year went by and I reached 100 miles. When I had about one hundred and fifty miles there was a fundraiser, The Walk for Kids. I could run for four hours. This would be awesome! I could catch up to the kid that was ahead of me, or even pass him! I was late to the fund raiser which embarrassed me. I was behind all of the other kids and knew I had to run my heart out to catch up. Thank goodness, the kid that had 4 more miles than me had a baseball game and was not there. Eventually, after running 10 miles I decided to stop. But when I heard they were doubling your laps, of course I was back on the track. By the end of the day I ran 13 miles. I was definitely ahead of the kid who now was 9 miles behind me.

Back at school, Celia and I kept running. When I reached 200 miles I thought “I have to stop running. I am torn down, I am tired, and I cannot keep this up with this pace.’’ I only had 3 weeks until the cutoffs so I started to walk. But then I heard that the school record was 222 miles.

I thought, “Well I am probably never going to get this close to the record again, my name could go down in history, I only have to run 23 miles in three weeks. Wait, what am I thinking? Hello, earth to Chad! That means at least 23 miles in 3 weeks. It’s impossible!”

Celia thought I could.

She did the calculations and was sure I could accomplish my goal. Her positive words inspired me to continue running. She pushed me when I was tired and encouraged me to give it my all. When we were running together we didn’t talk. Yet Celia’s loyalty and encouragement were obvious to me. She ran by my side every day.

As the cut off was growing nearer I was getting more miles. I was running so hard that by the end of the day I felt like I was going to die. My muscles ached and my lungs burned. But I kept running, with Celia by my side.

The moment I reached the last lap of the two hundred and twenty-third mile, I was overjoyed. I could not believe I had actually done it. I broke the school record. But that still wasn’t enough. I decided I needed to beat the school record by a lot more than one mile if I wanted to be remembered. So I still kept running side by side, lap by lap with Celia. By the end of the year I reached 242 miles!

I was a school champ, only because of Celia.

To sum it up, that year was great. A runner’s dream, my dream, came true that year. I ended up having a five minute fifty two second mile, and I made the track team because of Celia’s support. Not only did this experience show me that a friend could help me run two hundred and forty-two miles, but that a friend can encourage you to do things that have a positive effect instead of a negative effect.

Everyone needs a friend that can be a positive influence, help you through tough times, help you to make correct choices and cheer you on in your journey.

Sometimes it just takes a friend to make it through the race of life successfully.

(Not) The End

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Using What You Have: Taking 100 Mile Club to Families and the Community

The Longfellow HEARTS 100 Mile Club® chapter in Riverside, California, led by superstar Coach Shayna Golbaf, is reaching out to its families and community members by using its this case, a stunning mountain located smack dab in the middle of town.

Read on to see how the 100 Mile Club kids, families, and teachers earned miles (and SO much more) on a beautiful Saturday morning in December...

Integrating 100 Mile Club with Families and our Community
by Shayna Golbaf, 100 Mile Club Head Coach
Longfellow Elementary H.E.A.R.T.S.

How can you bring families and the community together through 100 Mile Club? Many of us witness the success of 100 Mile Club in our school, but how do we take it to the next level?

If the community wouldn’t come to us, then we would take it to them through an experiment labeled Family Fieldtrips!

Part of the goal of 100 Mile Club is to promote a healthy lifestyle and give students an attainable goal outside of regular academics. My goal for Family Fieldtrips was to promote a healthy lifestyle through a free activity that could be done while bonding as a family and community. Luckily, Riverside has just the spot to incorporate all these things:

Mount Rubidoux.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks approaching, I knew that students would have less time to run toward their 100 miles. Therefore, I planned our first Family Fieldtrip for the first Saturday in December. Excited about this new idea, I quickly made flyers and began promoting.

It quickly came to my attention that December 6th was not only an important day for us, but many others. It was the day Catholics in Riverside honored the Virgin of Guadalupe with a pilgrimage to the top of Mount Rubidoux.

Just my luck! The one day of the year that I chose to begin our Family Fieldtrip was the same day that literally thousands of others would be joining us for our three-mile hike up Mount Rubidoux! I was apprehensive and considered changing our fieldtrip to a later date, but decided against it. I truly did not understand the size of the celebration we would soon encounter.
The day had come and I was open-minded as I attempted to project the success of my experimental fieldtrip. As I began to climb to our meeting spot, I second-guessed myself as my eyes greeted the crowded paths on the mountain. Through the stream of people I recognized two eager students who were 40 minutes early for our endeavor. As time began to pass, more students immerged amongst the worshipers. George Flower, a community member from Friends of Mount Rubidoux, presented students with buttons and Kara Lubin, founder of The 100 Mile Club, motivated students for the climb.

The sound of drums filled our ears, and one parent advised that we start our hike before the procession arrived. “It hasn’t even started?!” I thought in a panic as I pictured the groups who had already passed us. Quickly we broke off into two groups and began our journey up the mountain. We were surrounded by other community members with thousands more on our trail.
Reaching the top and not to resist any photo opportunities, we stalled at the summit while our barricade quickly closed in.

Without realization or intention we just became part of the parade!
Our family fieldtrip had morphed into a cultural plunge for all of us. Our eyes were opened to a sacred ceremony filled with passionate singing, dancing, music, and praying. Southern and Central American countries raised their flags high, and our students, by pure dumb luck, were right in the front row.

Needless to say, we earned our miles, but we also gained so much more. I couldn’t have planned it better, and no other Family Fieldtrip will ever come close to the experiences we gained that day.
As we walked down the mountain and away from the ceremony, parents and students reflected on all the subjects touched on during this event. Physical fitness was the obvious, but social studies and geography were also mentioned. Geology was touched on using the multitude of different rocks. Sociology was referred to by one parent due to the different cultures represented.

My personal favorite was when one student proclaimed, “and we bonded together!” Families, students, and parents all found a commonality through tackling the mountain. We planned another hike for the following week, this time with a picnic at the top.

The 100 Mile Club® is more than running. It is about bringing people together through passion, motivation, encouragement, and community.

All of this and so much more was discovered and accomplished as we ventured out and introduced the 100 Mile Club® to our community.

Welcome, Riverside!! We are humbled and honored to have you with us. Welcome to The 100 Mile Club!