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100 Mile Club offers kids fun fitness

May 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
What's not to like about a program that's fun, free and helps you get fit? That's the premise of the 100 Mile Club offered at schools across the Southland. Welcome to the 100 Mile Club: 850 students, plus teachers, on the trail in Corona.

"Anyone can participate," said Kara Lubin, who founded the club. "We have kids with disabilities; we have superior athletes all running together trying to achieve the same goal."

Lubin started the program 18 years ago as a way to connect her special needs students to school work and other children. Proving so popular it became a nationwide non-profit club.

"Instead of talking about fighting obesity, what we're doing is promoting an active lifestyle, a daily physical activity that's supportive and inclusive," said Lubin.

Lubin's program is based on former UCLA Men's Basketball Coach John Wooden's rules of success that are posted around their track.

"They'll say, 'Miss Lubin, what is 'industriousness?' And we'll talk about it which means working hard, being excited about what you're doing,keeping focused," said Lubin.

Fifteen-thousand students participate in about 65 schools across the country, many in Southern California. No surprise, fitness scores are leaps and bounds above others.

"We actually have junior high and high school coaches going, 'What's the deal? Because your kids can run, they have stamina, they have skill to stay on the mark,'" said Janette Neumann, principal of McKinley Elementary School}

Running outside helps inside the classroom as well.

"They're a lot more calm," said teacher Phyllis Rice. "They're excited to see how many miles they have, accomplishing their goals, and each kid sets a goal every day."

But it helps big people too, like Rice, a breast cancer survivor.

"It just kept me going," said Rice. "I kept going with my kids and it just made me feel better each and every day until I was like I am now."

To kids, it's simply fun.

"I like doing it with a whole bunch of people," said 5-year-old Raymond Leon. "It's like I'm in a race."

Along with a fit body, every 25 miles a student earns a treat. The first 25 miles they get a T-shirt. The second 25 miles, they get a pencil. And at 75 miles they get bracelet, but on the 100 mile mark?

"When we get to 100 miles, they are presented with a medal," said Lubin. "But it's not presented until the end of the school year so that everybody has a chance to get to their hundred."


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