[This awesome local running story is from a group of students at Cedarbrae PS. If you’ve got a story that you want to share, then we want to hear it! Let us know at editor@RunWaterloo.com]
Youth fitness, or lack thereof, may be a concern in some parts of Canada and Waterloo Region, but at Cedarbrae Public School leading an active lifestyle is a priority. This past winter the school started an initiative called the Ice Cube running club, spearheaded by grade 5 student Jacob Lowery, which involved a dedicated group of students and teachers meeting Wednesday mornings before class to run to other schools in Waterloo.
Cedarbrae’s interest in organized running began in spring 2013 with a club founded with the help of Natalie Veras. This experience was so positive that some club members continued to run throughout the summer and participated in the Oktoberfest 5km in October 2013. It was around this time that Jacob developed the concept of the Ice Cube running club during a Genius Hour learning experience with his principal Mark McMath. He searched and mapped running routes to 16 other elementary schools, organized them by distance from Cedarbrae, and scheduled the club’s runs accordingly, starting with 1.3k to Winston Churchill PS and finishing with 6.4km to Edna Staebler PS.
The club’s name originated from the fact that most of the runs were to be completed during the winter. However, extreme temperatures caused the club to delay many of their excursions to the milder months of spring. As of May 29, the club had completed 10 of their scheduled 16 runs, and intended to increase the frequency of their outings to twice a week in order to achieve their goal by June 20. Students who complete each run receive a certificate with a picture of the school they reached on their run.
In addition to promoting fitness, the Ice Cube running club also teaches students about goal setting. It provides an opportunity for club members to practice setting attainable goals and working towards their achievement, a practical life skill in more than just matters of health. The club also allows students to implement daily mantras they hear on the morning announcements at Cedarbrae, such as “I will do my best” and “I will never give up.” Applying these to a physical challenge like running causes the mantras to take on a more tangible and immediate significance to the young students.
The club is open to all students, from grade 1 to grade 6, as well as parents and teachers. The school is considering splitting the group into separate primary and junior running clubs for the fall, but either way the spirit of the Ice Cube running club and the emphasis on active living will remain strong at Cedarbrae. Keep an eye out for these young runners at future Waterloo Running Series events this summer and fall!
[Update: since this story was published, the ICRC completed their goal on June 23, 2014. You can follow along with their plans for next year on Twitter @CedarbraePS!]
— Cedarbrae P.S. (@CedarbraePS) May 21, 2014