Whiz Kids: Southwood Elementary Students Run for Fun

Students taking part in the school's Running Club earned their right to show what they've got during the annual Fun Run event Tuesday.

One hundred and sixty four superstars from put on their running shoes Tuesday to take part in the school's sixth annual Fun Run, which also served as an opportunity for the kids, school, and PTA to thank Safeway for its eScrip program donations to the school.

It was third-grader Nate Belcourt who came in first after sprinting the course, but none of these 164 students are novices to the sport of running.

Physical education teacher Jill Carlson said the students had to earn their right to participate in the race by first completing four 'cards' through the school's Running Club. Each card required the student to run 25 laps. They would complete these runs through their lunch recess, she said.

"In essence, each Fun Run qualifier ran 100 laps, which is approximately 20 miles!" said PTA Board member Lisa Close.

According to Close, this year's participation from the students was the highest so far in the six years the run has taken place.

"It's a great event," Carlson said. "The Running Club in itself is great just so the kids could do this. ... The PTA support has been great, and a lot of the teachers are supportive too -- they're out here marking cards for the kids."

Southwood's PTA supports the school's Running Club, purchasing reward tokens and the blue Fun Run t-shirts worn by all the runners, Close said. Funding for those purchases was made available through Safeway's eScrip program, which enforces nutrition and fitness in schools. 

From January through April alone this year, the Safeway eScrip program has already generated $1,200 for Southwood; last year, the school received more than $2,000 in donations, Close said.

The eScrip program allows for parents, staff and friends to register their Safeway card for free, choosing Southwood as their beneficiary. From there, Safeway donates up to 4 percent of purchases made on those cards back to the PTA, who then puts the money back into the school, Close said.

Safeway requires of the PTA regular reporting on nutrition and fitness spending to maintain accountability.

The eScrip program is also set up with other schools. Carlson, who also teaches P.E. at , said they just completed their second annual Fun Run.


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