CRIDERSVILLE — The sound of little feet pounded against the blacktop Thursday, losing some momentum as the little legs tired and the heat began to wear them down.
“I’m trying to run, but I’m tired,” one Cridersville Elementary School pupil announced midway through his six laps.
“It’s hot,” another groaned.
Running or even walking a quarter-mile hasn’t been easy for all, but the 285 kindergarten through fourth-graders are doing it every day this month.
“You hear about unhealthy children. Not just so much overweight, they are unhealthy,” said para-educator Laura Hadding, who started the program. “My proposal to them was to see if you can be better at the end of the month than at the beginning of the month.”
Hadding, who handles recess at the school, started the run/walk two years ago with fourth-graders. Last year, all pupils did a series of exercises during morning announcements. Hadding sees firsthand that children need more exercise.
“I see kids at recess who go out and sit or just stand and don’t really move,” she said. “At least during the month of April, they are being asked to move a little bit.”
Second-grader Emma Rex did a combination of walking and running five laps Thursday.
“I like it because I never get much exercise at my house and I count on this,” she said.
“I like it because most Americans don’t get exercise and we need some,” added second-grader Jesse McKenzie, who usually runs his laps, but a bum knee only allowed him to walk Thursday.
Hadding said she hopes the program will get pupils moving even when the month ends. She’s seen a difference in their attitudes about doing the laps and their ability to do them.
“One little girl couldn’t walk two laps at first,” she said. “Now she is moving the whole time.”