Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hartford Marathon


Students and staff at the Macdonough School have been logging miles to prepare for the big race.
For the seventh year, the school will send a team of students and staff to run in the Hartford Marathon on Oct. 11.

About two dozen members of the school community will run a half-marathon, a 13.1-mile race, led by fourth-grade teacher Sarah Claffey.

Student runners will enter and exit the course at designated mile markers to run alongside Claffey for one or more miles in the race. All the students will later come together at mile 13 to cross the finish line as a team, passing under the Historic Soldiers and Sailors Arch to receive a medal for their accomplishments.

This year’s team has three staff members, including Claffey, kindergarten teacher Kelly Lenihan and special education teacher Michelle Currier, who was recently named one of 10 runners on the 2014 Aiello Inspiration Team in recognition of her efforts to promote fitness at the school.
The Inspiration Team represents “the best of the running community to support health, charity, children and community initiatives,” according to the Hartford Marathon Foundation.
The ING Foundation selects 10 individuals from a pool of hundreds of nominees, and selects those who have, among other things, “shown ability to use perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome adversity or have made tremendous contributions to the community and society which serves as an inspiration to others,” according to the nominating criteria.
In 2012, Claffey won the Inspiration Team award. She was nominated by school Principal Jon Romeo for getting others involving in running.
“Jon got me into it. From there it took off on its own,” said Claffey.
In the past, Romeo has recruited a number of teachers to participate in the ING Foundation’s Team Relay, a half-marathon where team members can run a single leg of between three and six miles.
Claffey became involved with the school’s after-school running club as well as activities that promote running, such as the school’s Run for Fun, where kids run at recess time.
“I go out and run with the kids, or they see me running in the neighborhood and want to join. I tell them it’s healthy to stay active ... I try to inspire them, inspire them to run and to set goals and accomplish those goals,” Claffey told the Press.
This year, about 2,700 students from 32 Connecticut schools have made a commitment to “getting healthy and staying fit,” according to the HMF.
Students can particpate in the HMF FitKids In School program, designed to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle in middle school. Over a six-week period, students run together before, during or after school to accumulate 25 miles.
Then, they come together with students from middle schools around Connecticut for the culminating final mile run to complete the marathon.
On Oct. 7, about two dozen Macdonough School students will join thousands of young runners in East Hartford to complete the final mile of the 26.2 mile race alongside students from middle schools around Connecticut, said Lisa Butler, a spokesman for HMF.
“It’s a really fun event, said Butler. “We want to encourage students to become and stay healthy.”
“It pulls people together. It gives you time to get to know people on a non-classroom level, a more personal level,” said Claffey. “It also pulls the kids together, kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be friends find that they have something in common.”
After finishing the race, students can explore the World of Fitness presented by the YMCA of Greater Hartford, an interactive health and fitness themed expo where kids can participate in games, activities, and demonstrations that encourage healthy lifestyles.
More than 7,500 kids have participated and collectively run over 142,000 miles in the HMF FitKids In School Program since it began, Butler said.
For information on the Hartford Marathon, see hartfordmarathon.com.

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