The West Elementary School Running Club participated in Kids Rock Nashville over the weekend.
The club is lead by Dawn Crumpton, a fifth grade reading, writing and social studies teacher. Though she has been leading the running club since she came to the school six years ago, the club has been around long before. Many other teachers and parents volunteer and run with the club as well.
When she first began, there were only 25 students in the club, Crumpton said, but it has been growing each year. According to Crumpton, the West Running Club was the second largest group at Kids Rock this year. The group has around 215 members, from kindergarten to fifth grade, which is nearly one-third of the entire student body.
Crumpton has run multiple half marathons and ran a full marathon in February. She said the club is not only great for students’ health, but it also trains the older students in leadership by encouraging them to help the younger students. She also said it is important for children to learn that exercise does not have to be something to dread.
Each year, the club has a theme that is reflected in their team shirts. The theme this year was “Running 4 Our Heroes.” Names of military members, first responders, and even West’s School Resource Officer were listed on the backs of their shirts.
As of now, the club is not year-round. They begin meeting in February where they will run around one mile on Tuesdays and Thursdays. By the time they get to the marathon, usually at the end of April, the club will have run 25 miles. Their last mile, a total of 26, was at Kids Rock Nashville.
Though the club usually runs together, during the final practice, the fifth grade runners will run one last lap alone while the younger students cheer them on.
The club had its final practice of the year on Thursday, and participated in Kids Rock on Sunday. Crumpton said they are looking to expand the running club to meet in the fall as well.
“I look forward to seeing how [the club] changes and grows … the future looks good,” said Crumpton.