My Shields Elementary students are participating in a challenge that’s taking them the distance from Lewes to the island of Hawaii. For the past three months, students from kindergarten to fifth grade have been circling the cinder track for the first 15 minutes of each physical education class. My kids walk, jog, skip and run around the track, and we keep track of each class’s total as well as the school total. The goal is to run to Hawaii, which is more than 4,000 miles away, and if we can get there this year, I promised them a Hawaiian hula party.
As a school, we have circled the track 16,692 laps, which converts to 3,337 miles, putting Shields students approximately 300 miles west of the coast of California swimming toward Hawaii.
The top five classes through their five-day rotation are: 1. Team Catts (fourth and fifth grade) – 1,410 laps; 2. Team Libby (third grade) – 1,212 laps; 3. Team Johnson (third grade) – 1,005 laps; 4. Team Gannon (fifth grade) – 909 laps; 5. Team Lewis (third grade) – 898 laps.
The improvement and the motivation I have seen from the students makes me proud to be their teacher. I see the students setting goals and encouraging peers, and whether they are walking, jogging or running, I see young students becoming healthier and building self-esteem.
Striders team with Apple Electric
As we begin a new year, I wanted to reflect on the Seashore Striders raising funds for several homeless families. We teamed with Apple Electric to put smiles on the faces of several families during the holiday. Tia Jarvis and Ryann Howard teamed with me, my wife Monique, and our son Jake to purchase toys and gift cards for the families.
Rodriguez prepping for first ultra-marathon
Local runner Martin Rodriguez of the Seashore Striders Racing Team will attempt his first 50K ultra-marathon, which is just under 31.07 miles. Martin will participate in the Algonquin 50K in Pocomoke City, Md., on Saturday, Feb. 13.
According to its website, the event started with the original Algonquin 50K, "The longest 50K on the Eastern Shore," at least that is what the race dictator likes to call it. The inaugural race took place in 2017, and what an epic race it was. There was a lot of sand, sweat, water and briars. Everyone was racing to either beat the competition or beat the clock before it turned 8:00:00. The runners, volunteers, rangers, equestrian teams and sponsors all made this race a huge success. The first race was won by Alexander Hetherington for the men and Melissa Wilson for the women. The race was first inspired by infamous Race Dictator Trent Swanson and his friends Chris Demone and Brian Swift. A group from the Pemberton Running Club, on a freezing cold day in February of 2016, ran an out-and-back on the Algonquin trail in the Pocomoke State Forest. They discovered beautiful trails, flooded terrain and the soft Delmarvalous sand. The Algonquin 50K takes you through the main vein of it all. From there, Algonquin Ultras Inc. was born to give back to the parks and forests on Delmarva. The Algonquin Ultras group has since created more trail races to help bring the running community together and bring runners to the amazing trails of Delmarva.
“I am not 100 percent, but I am going into the race with a different mind-set,” Rodriguez said. “I just want to run comfortable and finish. I am not so much worried about my time in this race. It should be fun.”
Cape indoor track
Both the boys’ and girls’ indoor track & field teams are now known as the winter track & field teams, as they are practicing outside on a daily basis. The boys have just under 40 athletes, while the girls are at 24. The teams are working hard even though no meets are currently on the schedule. Indoor sports have the green light for practice, but competitions are on hold until at least Jan. 11. In speaking with State Meet Chair Charlie Pollard following his Jan. 5 meeting with the State Track Committee, he said, “The recommendation is to have an indoor state championship meet if conditions allow at an indoor facility, and if that is not safely possible, we will look at hosting the meet at an outdoor neutral site in early March.”