Inaugural ‘Log Off and Lace Up’ virtual race hosted by Troy educators

‘I can’t be on a screen all day. I don’t know how our kids do it’

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published March 12, 2021

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TROY — Two Troy School District elementary physical education teachers have organized a virtual walk and run to encourage students, families and community members to stop binge-watching that Netflix show and get active outdoors.

They understand that in the middle of a pandemic, it’s been easy to be less active, but for Bemis Elementary School physical education teacher Sarah Redden and Hamilton/Barnard elementary schools physical education teacher Christina Attard, it doesn’t really fit the curriculum.

“All of the physical education teachers had noticed the kids are not moving as much, adults aren’t moving as much,” Redden said about the motivation behind organizing the virtual race. “We really wanted to get kids, but also staff and families, moving.”

Keeping kids active while they sit, listen and participate through a virtual screen has been one of Redden and Attard’s biggest challenges this school year.

“We’ve totally had to change our teaching. We’re not in the gym. We’re not with equipment. We don’t know if students have equipment, so we’ve had to re-create what physical education is,” Redden said, adding that the forced innovation has led to some creative outcomes.

“We want kids to be up and moving, but we want them to have fun too, because a lot of their day is sitting listening on a screen,” Attard added. “We agreed as a department that whatever we decide to do, it should be fun. That’s as simple as playing dance tag for a couple minutes, and freezing in a silly position. … I can’t be on a screen all day. I don’t know how our kids do it.”

The teachers’ inaugural Log Off and Lace Up virtual race moves away from the sense of competition to welcome a more leisurely, motivating and fun experience for participants. The goal of the free, inclusive event is to “get as many people out being active as possible,” Redden said.

Participants can choose to walk or run a 1-mile, 2-mile or 3-mile route on their own time to complete the virtual race. Race registration is open until March 31. Training time and racing should be completed between April 1 and May 31.

Several community locations will be open and available to residents participating, including the Troy and Athens high school tracks, and the Baker, Boulan, Larson and Smith middle school tracks; Troy parks, including Jaycee, Firefighters and Raintree parks; the Sylvan Glen golf course; and the Stage Nature Center. Running is prohibited at the Nature Center, Department of Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened people’s desire to get outside, Bovensiep said his department made some necessary changes to provide that amenity to residents, even during the winter.

“Without adding any additional employees, we’re able to maintain those trails and parking lots, very similar to how we maintain our roads. They’re cleared at the same time,” he said. “We also recognize the need for people to get out there and get active, not only for the warmer months, but during the winter months too. I’m excited the school district, who is a great partner with our Parks and Recreation Department, is promoting our parks as well.”

Printable running bibs will be provided to race participants, and race apparel can be purchased at the Varsity Shop in Birmingham.

Going outdoors to get physical, or even just breathe in some fresh air, won’t only benefit you physically, but mentally as well, Attard said. “The movement is good for your brain, your body and your mental health. There’s a lot of studies out there that show physical health is super important, not only for kids, but adults too.

“I think a lot of people have been in a tough spot over the last year, not getting out of their house and feeling trapped a little bit or afraid to leave. I think it’s important for people to move and be outside with fresh air, and get that little bit of exercise to restimulate their brains and bodies.”

For those who may feel out of shape or be brand-new to running, the advice Redden offers is to start slowly.

“Day by day you’re going to eventually increase, and you’ll notice the benefits and your improvement. It’s so worth it, because you can be proud of your accomplishments, even if you’re choosing just the one mile. You set a goal, and you can work toward that.”

For more information and to register for the race, visit https://logoffandlaceup.weebly.com.

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