Free Ridge Run 5K Training Clubs Open to Local Schools

By the time the 40th Annual BAPA Ridge Run arrives on Mon., May 29, your kids – whether they’re couch potatoes or budding athletes – can be ready to run the 5K.

BAPA’s free Ridge Run 5K Training Clubs created last year and 12 schools in Beverly/Morgan Park and surrounding communities participated. Clissold School had 100 members in their running club!

The free comprehensive 10-week training program was developed by Jenny Harkins, owner of Treadfit owner and an experienced runner.  Each school needs to recruit an adult to lead the program. Training guides offer proven techniques including running, cross training, nutrition and how to choose running shoes.

Clubs are encouraged to start training in March. “The Ridge Run is a really great family run. The running clubs give families a goal for doing something active together on Memorial Day,” said Margot Holland, BAPA executive director. “After the Run, we’ll have a festival in the park, with food and music; it’s sure to be a fun time for everyone.”

Kids ages five and up can participate in the Youth Mile fun run, and Harkins recommends those in 4th grade and above can train to run or run/walk the 5K. The Ridge Run offers a family registration discount for the 5K.

Since running is such an all-inclusive sport, people don’t need special skills to volunteer to coach the school teams, according to Harkins. “You can even have a parent who’s never run before coach the program; it’s so detailed and easy to follow,” she said.

To get started, Harkins recommends the club meets two times a week, and that members commit to an additional weekend run with a parent. Harkins recommends recruiting as many parent volunteers as you can, since it’s always nice to have extra bodies running with the kids along the route.

Practice is set up around a warm-up, workout, drills, a cool down game and a stretch. Besides finishing strong in the Ridge Run, the kids will get a lot out of the program. The practices are positive and encourage kids to cheer each other on; and the kids will gain confidence and learn about setting and achieving goals.

Ridge Run Running Club Training guides and more information are available from Margot Holland, mholland@bapa.org or 773-233-3100.