Stories And Inspiration
Promoting Kids’ Good Health With RunningSubmitted by Karen Grossman on Jun 4th 2018 - 12:00AM. | Perma Link
It started as a way to promote healthy habits. Principal and GO FAR coach Lamont McMillan has always been health conscious. As assistant principal at another school, he saw firsthand the effects of a GO FAR club and wanted his Guilford Elementary students to have the same experience.
“Nowadays, kids don’t really have the conversation about healthy eating and what they should eat,” he says. “I wanted to have those conversations about having a healthy heart and when you do proper exercise and adequate amount of exercise in addition to a balanced diet, it can perhaps lengthen your life.”
An avid runner, McMillan says exercise became important to him after eight years in the Army. A good stress reliever, it became part of him. He also saw the impact of health problems on family members.
“A lot of my family members are diabetics and have high blood pressure, so I try to make sure I exercise to the greatest extent possible,” he says. “I know the more I exercise, the less likely those things are to creep up on you.”
With students facing issues like juvenile diabetes, McMillan says bringing GO FAR to his school was a way to combat that and promote a healthy lifestyle.
He’s seen results. “Kids have been eager to want to exercise,” he says. “Kids have become more conscious about what they eat. They’re more prone to, in the cafeteria, maybe pick a fruit versus something that’s unhealthy, like a bag of potato chips.”
McMillan and the six other faculty who lead the school’s GO FAR club noticed positive changes during practices as well. “As time began to go on, their bodies began to become conditioned and they weren’t complaining as much,” he says.
In its first year, the school has done both fall and spring races. After the hard work of training, there was definite excitement at the finish line. “For the most part, it was a sense of, ‘I accomplished this. I actually ran 3.1 miles,’” McMillan says.
The club also accomplished something else — students and faculty could build relationships outside of school.
“They would see me in the hallway and they would say, ‘See you at GO FAR practice,’” he says. “I could just tell that that really did something to them, and it made it even more exciting for them not only to see me out there, but their teachers too.”
Running together was fun. “They were actually trying to challenge me and beat me,” McMillan jokes. “But of course, I can’t let them beat me.”
Start a GO FAR club at your school. We’ll guide you and set you up with all the tools to help your group make it to the finish line.