Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Washougal Elementary Runners Prepare for The Stride

Community volunteer and avid runner, Tracey Stinchfield, was amazed at the turn out for her new running club for elementary students in Washougal.  Nearly 100 Gause Elementary students and around 50 Hathaway Elementary students signed on to participate in the six-week program offered through Washougal Community Education and Recreation.

“I know that not all kids like team sports, but they do like to be with friends, and be active and run,” Stinchfield said.  “So I thought it would be fun for those kids to be a part of a running club.”  The club was free to participants thanks to parent volunteers and Discovery Dental who covered course expenses.

Using the Student Stride for Education Fun Run (The Stride) as a goal event for the runners to prepare for, Stinchfield leads the groups from 3:30-5:00 p.m. once a week.  “After the first week the kids said that running is hard,” Stinchfield admitted.  “But what they discovered is the more you do it the easier it becomes.”

In order to make running fun, Stinchfield mixes up the work outs.  “One week we did a warrior dash with a bunch of obstacles,” she explained.  “Some days we run relays, or play running games like capture the flag and or running drills.  We also focus on teaching kids how to run and to think about things like pacing.”

Second grader, Caroline Collins, has run The Stride for two years and is looking forward to participating again this year. She agreed with Stinchfield that, “Running was hard when we started but now it feels easier.  And it is fun.”

Stinchfield did not know what to expect when she offered the program but was delighted to find the kids eager to learn and participate. “I hope they leave this experience with the impression that running is fun to do and that they will continue to have an active life.”

The Student Stride for Education, on May 18, is a student fun run and adult 5K run and walk to benefit Washougal public education through the Washougal Schools Foundation. It is held at the Washougal High School stadium and surrounding areas.

For more information about the Stride, please visit
For information about Discovery Dentistry, please visit
Tracey Stinchfield makes exercise fun for Hathaway running club students with creative courses and obstacles to move through.