North Cache Middle School students run the equivalent of 443 marathons


Marathon Club banner


During the 2023-2024 school year, students at North Cache Middle School ran the equivalent of 443 marathons as they participated in a fun and inspiring challenge: Marathon Kids. PE. teacher Laura Haynie introduced the program after feeling frustrated with students' lack of motivation in running activities. Marathon Kids challenges students to run, jog, walk, or move the equivalent of four or more marathons during the school year, focusing on personal goals rather than competing with their peers. 


Determined to prevent fitness from becoming a “chore,” Haynie implemented Marathon Kids into her PE class, hoping to turn fitness into an activity that students would want to engage in for a lifetime. “When we would run the mile in class, students often chose to walk and completed it so slowly that it would consume the entire class period,” Haynie explained. “This was frustrating for students who had to wait to participate in other games and activities until everyone had finished.” 


Marathon Kids provides a digital cloud platform for tracking and individual student QR codes. “I printed the individual QR codes on students’ running cards for them to scan in class. As they ran a lap on each of the assigned “tracks” I created, it would accumulate all of the steps they were taking, adding them up to total miles,” Haynie explained. Students participated in a variety of activities throughout the school year to accumulate their miles. Some were basic, like doing laps, and others required rotations through strength exercises, the PACER test, the Fitnessgram test, running ladders, and group activities. 


students sign a banner    student running    Laura Haynie and student    Laura Haynie and student      


Haynie stressed that the program's focus was not necessarily to compete against others but rather to motivate and encourage all students to start moving. “I don’t care what pace they move at; I care that they are all moving,” said Haynie. “The goal of miles were all the same, but how they reached it was up to them.” 


The Marathon Kids initiative is inclusive of students at all fitness levels and abilities, offering every student at North Cache an opportunity to participate. “We have students with special needs who received help from peer tutors, friends supporting each other to achieve more, and students with injuries moving at their own pace during recovery. For those who loved running, there were rewards for the most miles run,” said Haynie.


The top runner covered an impressive 82.55 miles, equivalent to over three full marathons, while several other runners have surpassed the distance of two marathons. North Cache collectively accumulated over 11,640 miles, equal to a remarkable total of 443 marathons.


The challenge took on new meaning in April when a North Cache student suffered injuries outside of school as he was struck by a car while riding his bike. His liver sustained significant damage, preventing him from attending school for the remainder of the year. In response, Haynie and his classmates devised a plan called "Run 4 Lowell, wherein students would run on his behalf. “Every time we do any work towards our marathon miles, a student will take Lowell's card, and for every lap they do, they also scan a lap for Lowell. It has given the students a sense of pride in running for themselves and Lowell,” explained Haynie. 


Although Lowell was not aware of what his classmates were doing as he recuperated, he was invited to the school’s final ceremony for Marathon Kids. There, he completed the last lap on his own while his peers cheered him on.


Haynie has plans to continue Marathon Kids in the upcoming school years. “As long as I am a teacher, Marathon Kids will be part of my class and education,” said Haynie. “The joy this has brought me, as I have watched students accomplish something they thought they never could do, is thrilling.”


North Cache Middle School expresses heartfelt gratitude to Marathon Kids and their sponsors, as well as to Travis Hoopes and Lazy One, for generously sponsoring and providing t-shirts for all those who achieved their marathon goals.