PENDLETON – Starpoint Central School will give its younger children the runaround Friday.
The school is holding its first Turkey Trot, a footrace for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, on Friday morning.
Using a paved road on the Mapleton Road campus, some 1,200 kids will be asked to go varying distances, depending on their grade level.
“They’re all encouraged to walk, run or jog,” said Jeff Tracy, the fitness lab teacher at Regan Intermediate School. “We want to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and physical fitness.”
The paved path makes a single loop around the primary and intermediate school buildings, and it will be easier for teachers and students alike to have the event near the buildings instead of making the trek to the high school track at the opposite end of the complex.
Kindergarteners will be asked to walk or run a quarter of a mile. The first- and second-grade students will have a half-mile target. Third- and fourth-graders will have a three-quarter-mile course, and fifth-graders will be asked to run a mile.
“Every grade level was assigned their own time, so it’ll run through the day,” Fricano Primary School Principal Bonnie Stafford said.
Tracy said the children have rehearsed the course so they know where to turn, but volunteer students from the high school, recruited primarily from interscholastic sports teams, will be on hand on race day to assist them.
Tracy said he has friends who teach in other districts that offer a similar event. The Tonawanda city schools have a Turkey Trot, while Newfane has a race, but not at Thanksgiving.
“With me being a runner, it’s a big part of my life,” Tracy said. And the event will be set up like an organized adult footrace.
The children whose parents give permission for them to take part will have to fill out an entry form and will be given a race number. At the finish line awaits a sticker reading, “I am a Starpoint Turkey Trot Finisher!”
Otherwise, there are no prizes.
“There is a charity component,” Tracy said. An “entry fee” of a jar of peanut butter or jelly will be charged, to be given to the Lockport Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive for area food pantries.
Tracy said he’s not concerned about the weather unless it’s extreme.
“If it’s raining or snowing or a little cold, I think the kids can handle it,” he said.
“Obviously, we would never do anything to endanger their health or safety,” Stafford said. “It’s just a way to get the kids some exercise and hopefully increase their interest in a healthy, active lifestyle.”