Schools Gearing Up for Ridge Run Showdown

By Kristin Boza

Now is the time to start training for BAPA’s 41st Annual Ridge Run on Memorial Day, Mon., May 28. For the third year in a row, BAPA is engaging area schools in friendly competition to see who can get the most (per capita) students to run under their school’s name. Clissold Elementary School earned the first place trophy in the competition’s inaugural year of 2016, but were unseated by Christ the King (CK) School in 2017.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for all schools to come together for something our community,” said Sean McNichols, Clissold School principal. “When Margot [Holland] and I started talking about this competition a few years back, we realized it would be a great way to promote health among our students while also creating a buzz for the Ridge Run.”

“We had such a huge turnout that proves that families wanted something like this; it’s a free program and the kids have flexibility to participate in addition to their other activities,” said Dr. Ann Marie Riordan, CK principal. “We couldn’t have resurrected the CK Road Runners without the leadership of [CK mom] Bridget Segroves, who runs every practice. She also plans three ‘fun runs’, including a Color Run, a Watermelon Run, and a workout with Special Olympics athletes — those are our most popular practices!”

Clissold, CK and nearly every other area school encourages their students to participate in a school Running Club, which is run via BAPA’s free training program created by Treadfit owner Jenny Harkins specifically for young athletes prepping for the Ridge Run. Parent and school volunteers at the helm of the Running Clubs do not have to be athletes themselves, as the exercises outlined in the training program are simple to follow. As an added bonus, Running Clubs are a great bonding experience between parents and their kids, helping everyone become race-ready and train together.

“I’m hopeful that more schools will have more running club participants because it makes the Ridge Run even more fun,” McNichols said. “It’s a great day for our community, and the goal is to get as many schools out there to celebrate. We’re disappointed that we’re not still holding the trophy, but confident that we’ll be getting it back after this year’s Ridge Run.”

Riordan says CK has found success with opening the program to their youngest students as well as their older ones. “I love that the little ones are out there and gaining exposure to the idea that running is just fun — they’re not looking at it as exercise, and I think that will carry on as they get older,” she said. Riordan is excited for the competition as well, urging other teams to “Catch us if you can!”

The scalable training program consists of 10 weeks of preparation, and it also includes information on how to cross train, what to eat, and even how to choose a running shoe. Running Clubs typically meet twice a week, with a third run encouraged on their own over the weekend. Practices begin with a warm-up and move onto a practice run, drills and a cool-down game, and end with a group stretch.

Ridge Run Running Club Training guides and more information are available from BAPA, 773-233-3100.