Successful Fall Season for Active Southern West Virginia Kids Run Clubs

BECKLEY – Active Southern West Virginia (Active SWV) Kids Run Clubs . . .  seek to help kids to develop an enjoyment and understanding of exercise, while learning healthy habits that extend beyond the program. Participants learn the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle, team building, and techniques for being a healthy runner in a 6-8 week program that emphasizes confidence building and inclusivity.

The fall 2017 season of Active SWV Kids Run Clubs finished for the 15 elementary and middle schools participating in the program. The Active SWV Kids Run Club Program has seen immense growth during its 3 years. Over 1000 youth and over 100 volunteer coaches participated this fall, the largest numbers the program has ever seen. Active SWV welcomed 5 new schools to the Kids Run Club family this season, bringing the total number of Kids Run Clubs that participate throughout the calendar year to 21 schools and 2 community groups. Returning Kids Run Clubs have also grown their participation numbers, in many cases at least one-fourth or one-third of the overall school population participates in Run Club.

Active SWV Kids Run Clubs give students the skills and confidence to be physically active daily. Volunteer coaches, often teachers or family members, completed an in-depth training from Active SWV that taught them how to lead a safe, effective, and engaging Kids Run Clubs. During practices, participants played running intensive games and completed training runs. The atmosphere of the club is inclusive, positive, and non-competitive to ensure that students of all levels can find personal success and enjoyment. All skill levels are welcome in the club and there is no fee to participate. While many Kids Run Clubs will take a brief hiatus until the spring semester, several will continue during the winter months. Active SWV Kids Run Clubs occurred at the following schools this fall:

  • Ansted Middle School
  • Birch River Elementary School
  • Coal City Elementary School
  • Cranberry Prosperity Elementary School
  • Fairdale Elementary School
  • Gauley River Elementary School
  • Ghent Elementary School
  • Hinton Area Elementary School
  • Marsh Fork Elementary School
  • Mount Hope Christian Academy
  • Mount Hope Elementary
  • Panther Creek Elementary School
  • Summersville Elementary School
  • Valley Elementary School
  • Zela Elementary School

Each season of Active SWV Kids Run Clubs end in a celebratory Fun Run. Fun Runs are non-competitive, race-like events that celebrate the hard work of youth participants. Youth work towards the goal of participating in the Fun Run all season. This fall, many Kids Run Clubs added their own flair to the Fun Run event, having themes such as Color Runs, Costume/Halloween Runs, or Obstacle Course Runs. The events are not timed, and all participants received finisher medals, certificates, and t-shirts. At each Run Club, many siblings, parents, and family members joined in on the event, cheering on their child or running alongside them.

Critical to Active SWV Kids Run Clubs are the volunteer coaches who empower youth to be physically active and serve as role models and cheerleaders to participants. Active SWV would like to recognize the following volunteers for their commitment and service as an Active SWV Run Club Coach:

  • Ansted Middle School: Kate Miller
  • Birch River Elementary School: Leigh Ashby, Brittany Lang, Melinda Coulter, Cody Murphy, Victoria Spencer, Charlie Rose, Mary Tinnel
  • Coal City Elementary School: Lavonne Boothe, Beverley Castanon, Natasha Cook, Kara Miller, Margret Perdue, Lee Ann Sharp, Kari McCallister, Joel Hess, and John Sharp
  • Cranberry Prosperity Elementary School: Liz Decker, Angela Hughes, Renee Manning, Jon Boarman
  • Fairdale Elementary School: Carla Mollohan, Laura Ayers, Marina Pilkington, Lindsay Acord, Staci Stover, Megan Evans, Debbie Fisher, Rosanna Stanley, Beth Thompson, Jeannie Basham, Sandra Canterbury; Liberty High School Cross Country Student Coaches: Hunter Williams, Hunter Lambert, Jalen Hudson, James Harper, Dustin lively, Eric Housh, Ladimir Garcia, Dominic Panosian, Dylan Chapman, Brook Athey , McKenzie Howerton, Logan Howerton, Morgan Stover, Madi Cook
  • Gauley River Elementary School: Mary Griffith, Selena Varney, Monica Cox, Dak Myers, Janice Bane, Valerie Bailey, Cassandra Bailey, Courtney McClung, Patricia Boone, Natalie Dobson, Crystal Clendenin, Marcie Amick, Heather Miller, Terri Rodebaugh, Danny Caufield,
  • Ghent Elementary School: Tabatha Malott, Courtney Mooney, Debra Lafferty, Kaity Moore, Wendy Bortell
  • Hinton Area Elementary School: Kelly Mills, Mackenzie Morgan, Cassie Smith
  • Marsh Fork Elementary School: Katelyn Moore, Kim Cantley
  • Mount Hope Christian Academy: Heather Arbogast, Nicole Colson, Christopher Arbogast, Kyle Colson
  • Mount Hope Elementary: Fred Burton
  • Panther Creek Elementary School: Cheryl Childers, Sam Foster, Stephanie Lively, Sabine Gilman, Kali Bailes, Anthony Wiley, Angie Groves, Lisa McClung, Angie Amick, Jennifer Gillespie, Courtney Mullins, Tony Frame, Karen Basham, Patsy Rapp, Charlene Boothe, Penny Beam, Robin Mourey, Tammy Hartley, Bonnie Ritchea, Theresa Dennison, Sherry McMillion, Christy Chapman, Jessica Shafer, Lou Ann Younts
  • Summersville Elementary School: Dede Wisiniewski, Shannon LeRose, Kathee Dorsey, Jill Sweeney, Mitzi Roberts, Erin Thomas, Michelle Hicks, Robin Bell, D. Sweeney, Cindy Shelton, Sarah Garland, Andrew Garland, Morgan Scott, Abby Hoover, Ryan Atkins, Townya Coleman
  • Valley Elementary School: Alexis Virtue, Kendra Jones, Crystal White, Barbara Smith, Ashley Cooper, Melissa Morton, Shannon Smith, Kristy Thompson
  • Zela Elementary School: Catherine Hanks, Miranda Hughart, Carla Starcher, Cortney Wood, Jeremy Wood

Active SWV Kids Run Clubs are supported by:

  • Active Southern West Virginia
  • Beckley Area Foundation
  • Nicholas County Community Foundation
  • Road Runner’s Club of America Kids Run the Nation
  • Hinton Area Foundation
  • New River Health
  • Camden on the Gauley
  • Kroger

Active SWV is currently recruiting schools in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers Counties to establish Kids Run Clubs for both winter and spring seasons. For more information, contact .

“Several teachers in our school have come up to me and expressed their gratitude to me for leading this club, saying that their “troubled” kids have done a complete 180 and have a positive outlet to plug into now! This is all of the gratification I need to continue this journey with our school.”

  • Cassie Smith, Teacher and Run Club Coach at Hinton Area Elementary School

“We can definitely tell a difference between Run Club days and non Run Club days. On Run Club days, the kids are just so much more ready to learn.”

  • Cortney Walton Wood, Teacher and Run Club Coach at Zela Elementary School

“The kids absolutely loved coming to Run Club and I believe they were disappointed when it was over for the fall. Many have told us they can’t wait until the spring to do it again! We were so impressed with the number of students we had join Run Club and that we kept a consistent number of participants. Many times we do a club and the interest fades quickly but not with this! It was great seeing the kids being active and actually ENJOYING being active. This is a great program and we are so happy we get to be a part of it!”

  • Margret Perdue, Teacher and Run Club Coach at Coal City Elementary

“My favorite thing about Run Club is that it not only inspires the kids, but also inspires me, to look forward to a new era of kids, teenagers, and adults who are willing to take a step beyond for health.”

–     Eric Housh, Liberty High School Student, Cross-Country Runner, and Student Run  Club Coach at Fairdale Elementary School

“Helping with run club has given me the opportunity to be a positive role model for the kids and lets the kids know that we’re here for them and are supporting them.”

  • Jalen Hudson, Liberty High School Student, Cross-Country Runner, and Student Run Club Coach at Fairdale Elementary School

“I learned in Run Club that no matter what you can believe in yourself to do something.”

–     Gabby, Run Club Participant at Gauley River Elementary                                                                            —

ABOUT ACTIVE SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA: A nonprofit promoting public health in southern West Virginia by offering an array of activities led by trained leaders from within the communities they

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