A fun run is a great way to motivate your students to move and to get their families involved. If planning a fun run seems intimidating, here are some steps to break it down for you:
- Remember that it doesn’t need to be a huge event. Keep it simple!
- Put a committee together. Most people don’t mind helping if they just have a small chunk of the job to do. Break things into smaller pieces and delegate. Use the list below and give each committee member one assignment.
- Keep your purpose in mind. This post is written for those wanting to inspire families to move together. Make adjustments if you are trying to raise money, be competitive, or have other goals. (fun runs can be multi-purpose)
Fun Run Committee tasks:
- Choose a date. You can’t please everyone. Remember your purpose. Fall runs are great to kick off a year of activity. Spring runs can give your students a goal to work for.
- Design your route. For a fun run, you do not need a certain distance (like a 5K). Find a route that works and is safe for your area. Avoid busy streets and too many confusing turns. For an elementary run it is a good idea to have a short cut route for younger students and a longer, connected route for the older ones. Check at your local city offices for regulations regarding events like this. You will probably need approval.
- Advertise! Flyers, pump up the kids at an assembly, posters around town, etc. Make sure your whole school community is aware of your exciting event.
- Volunteers. Beyond your planning committee you will need volunteers the day of the event. Passing out any registration materials (if used), manning street corners and crossings, water and snack stations, and the finish line are places that volunteers can be used. Having some cheerleaders along the route is also great (teachers with noise makers!) Enlist the help of other teachers at your school, parents, and even older siblings.
- Water and snack stations. Snacks are optional for a short run and do add expense. You will want to plan one water station midway and one at the end for runners. If your route has any challenging sections, you may want a boost for that area. For example, you could give out a couple of pretzels at the top of a hill.
- Prizes. Again, this is not necessary, but kids do love prizes. Keep your run non-competitive for families by giving a prize to everyone who crosses the finish line. Our school uses licorice ropes with a gold chocolate coin glued on like a medal.
- Timing. Don’t worry about official timing or individual times. Post a big timing clock and interested kids can see their time as they finish. Simple!
- Registration. This can also be eliminated to simplify. If you want to charge a registration fee, I recommend charging a flat family rate to encourage all to participate. Fee can include a racing number, coupon donations from local businesses, t-shirt or water bottle, etc.
- Make it an event. Also optional, but it is motivating to have fun things for families to do as they finish the run. Food trucks, a local band, game areas, stretching station with a local mascot, anything that makes finishing the race a party!
Don’t forget to practice for the fun run by doing some running in PE class. This can be a great motivator. Getting families moving together can be life changing for kids!