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Spring into Play and Participate in an Event

March 27, 2015
Mark Cucuzella , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Imagine if every child in our region had a chance to play sports. To feel the thrill of accomplishing a goal, being part of a group, or achieving a personal best. Simply moving your body daily produces so many benefits for the mind and the body. Adolescents who play sports are eight times more likely to be active as young adults than adolescents who do not play sports. The majority of elementary school children do not play organized sports and even fewer in middle and high school continue on. Schools also cut children who want to play from teams. This is not the school's fault, it is just the way it is in a world with limited resources. The community must fill the gaps and create opportunity where schools and organized sports are limited.

Parental unease and the risks and realities of injuries and concussions are driving some youth away from activity. Early single sport specialization is also a ticket to burnout and lack of enjoyment. Lower income children do not have access or resources to join in organized sport. Drying up in all this is the free play many us experienced as children, and research shows the free play is more active than the organized sport where over 40% of the time is spent still. I have never witnessed my kids standing still in the backyard or in the play fort. So let's reinstitute free play, fun, and full body movement.

So here is a wonderful menu of youth and adult running activities in the Eastern Panhandle which kicks off with Two Rivers Treads/Freedoms Run Training and Play Group at Morgan Grove Park next week. Group will meet Tuesdays 6pm at the pavilion starting March 31st. If enough interest we may do 2 nights a week.

Why participate with the group, especially if you are a kid (or a kid at heart like me)?

It's free and led by myself and others with experience and knowledge in how to train people healthy. We especially want to invite and encourage children with special needs and challenges. Organized sports often leave them behind.

Prepare for an event and achieve a goal this spring. The BCT Harpers Ferry Half Marathon/5k has a free 5k if you are under 18

If you wish to run Middle School Cross County we will teach you some great running skills and drills to kick start your summer training.

Parents get active while bringing the kids. No need to bring the folding chair. Join in to run or walk

Improve your health. We will go over simple principles to help you live better and maybe longer too. We know from all the research that the number one rule is "use it or lose it"

Learn by doing. We will mix up running with drills, calisthenics, some games- all designed for full body movement and fun.

I just returned from teaching Instructors at Air Force Basic Training and we are applying these simple principles to how we train Airman before they show up and while in Basic Training. About 1/3 sustain an injury in Basic Training costing millions to the government and many unfortunately do not finish due to injury. Sadly many do not even get there who could aspire to a military career. More than a quarter of all Americans between the ages of 17 to 24 are too heavy to serve in the military. Many are turned away by recruiters and others never try to join. Of those who attempt to join, roughly 15,000 fail their entrance physicals every year because they are overweight.

Here is a menu of fun, inexpensive, adventurous, challenging and scenic local events. West Virginia has some of the best places in the country to get outside.

April 11 The Charge Obstacle Race sammichaels5k.weebly.com Sam Michaels Park. Obstacle racing comes to the Eastern Panhandle! This annual event will challenge adults and children of all abilities over not so death deifying obstacles and some mud. First time obstacle racer? No problem. Each heat is designated a skill level, and you choose which is best for you.

April 11 Miana Stewart 5k for Miana Scholarship fund . Musselman Middle School. Run in memory of a young girl who left her family tragically and too soon. Info 304-229-5299

April 25: This Race is for the Birds (www.raceforthebirds.org) 9 mile, 4 mile, 2 mile, and kids run. NCTC. Shepherdstown. Great family event with something for everyone! NCTC is not normally open to the general public, so this is a wonderful opportunity made possible by our partners at NCTC. Come enjoy the beautiful trails through forests and fields along the Potomac River which are not normally open to the public. Participants will see an active Bald Eagle's nest, beautiful spring wildflowers and the fantastic facility that the US Fish and Wildlife Service calls home.

May 9: BCT Harpers Ferry Half, 5k, Kids Run (www.harpersferryhalf.org) Harpers Ferry. 5k free for kids under 18! Every time I run this route there is something new for the senses and something challenging. The half marathon is a mix of road and trail and over 1000 feet of elevation gain. The 5k encompass the more gentle rolling grass hills of Harpers Ferry National Park School House Ridge. The one mile kids run will be a trail run through the Adventure Park at host River Riders. Some of the major historical sites covered in the event include John Brown's Fort, The Armory of Virginius Island, Bolivar Heights, School House Ridge, and the pre-Civil War towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Live music and beer garden at the finish featuring craft beer.

call TR Treads 304-876-1100 for info on events and Wednesday Run group. For a full list of events and links tworiverstreads.com/events/.

 
 
 

 

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