Each year the running challenge starts with many of the younger students focused on their individual goal of completing their running log (running 26 miles over 10 weeks). Very quickly they start to notice that their peers are in the same pursuit. Some learn to put competitiveness aside to slow down and run a friend’s pace, while others learn to push themselves a little harder to keep up with a friend. Some shout encouragement across the field or give out high fives once they have finished their laps. This provides a strong foundation for a successful running community in the middle school. By 6th grade, the idea of running with peers is well established and students provide accountability for each other as they complete their miles.
Watching all of the different ways that the students support one another as they work to achieve their individual goals reminds me that although a single child’s name is written on the running log, there are many others who helped their accomplishment become a reality.