Running Across Canada!

Posted on: November 7th, 2017

The goal: To Run Across Canada
The distance: 10 813 kms
The runners: 53 Grade 7 & 8 Rockway Students

In the first week of school, the grade 7&8 gym class was presented with the challenge to Run Across Canada. The route that was planned starts in Whitehorse, down to Vancouver, across to Sudbury, with a detour to Rockway, and then out to the east coast to finish in St Johns Newfoundland. The run touches two of the territories and every province, a distance just shy of 11 000 kms.

Of course, students are not actually running across the country, but are spending on average 15 minutes every gym class, running. It was a slow start, after being away all summer, students were skeptical that this goal would even be achievable. Most students had trouble running one lap without stopping, but they kept at it. With interval training, and constant encouragement, and sometimes tough love from their teachers, students started to improve. The only rule that stands in this challenge is you MUST keep your feet moving forward. Students are encouraged to run as much as they can, but may walk to catch their breath, as long as they keep moving. Now, into October, students are finding that the 15 min go by fast, and they often try to squeeze in one more lap.

To track our journey, an over 11-meter- long poster was created by Ruby and Johanna Dyck Steinman. It has a black line that is to scale; the distance we plan to run. Every class, students write down on a tracking sheet the distance they ran, and each week two students enter the data to a spreadsheet. Students are given regular updates as to their progress for the month. At the end of each month, students receive stickers (each sticker represents 10 km ran) according to their individual results. These stickers are added along the black line on the class map, to track our distance visually as we cross the country. Students also take this class to fill out a sheet which helps them analyze their past month’s goal and set their goal for the next month.

The reasoning behind this challenge is to promote health and fitness as well as goal setting, mental toughness, and team work. We have been learning that everyone has different capabilities, but we can all challenge ourselves, push our boundaries, and as a team we can achieve our goals.

The word has been spreading and Rockway alumni have been encouraging the 7&8s to keep working at their long-term goal. Most recently 2017 grad Jonah Boehm (who is currently playing lacrosse at Guelph University) sent a video encouraging students to keep working hard, even when they don’t want to. He spoke about the things that motivate him when he’s feeling lazy, and doesn’t want to work out. Other alumni have shown interest in doing what they can to motivate these students to keep working hard at a goal that once seemed impossible. Our class still has a long way to go, but are on track to getting to Newfoundland by May. It will be a long journey and we would accept any words of encouragement along the way!