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Falcon Running Club Attracts Pre-Teen Runners

May 05, 2016 02:20PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

Sandy - Sandy City Parks and Recreation is sponsoring the annual Falcon Running Club. In its fifth year, the running club is for kids ages 8 to 13, who get together weekly to jog together. The 12-week course leads up to the kids participating in the Fourth of July 5K.

“We decided to implement this program that was created by the National Alliance for Youth Sports originally called the Ready, Set, Run Program,” said Dustin Jackson, the recreation program coordinator at Sandy. “We changed the name to the Falcon Running Club.”

According to Jackson, the idea for the club came out of the need for an athletic non-team event for the kids in the area. 

“This curriculum-based program equips kids with the physical training and goal-setting mentality needed to accomplish their running goals,” Jackson said. “Issues like enhancing confidence and self-esteem, respecting authority, dealing with peer pressure and fueling their bodies through proper nutrition are covered during the 12-week session. Above all, kids have a blast seeing what they are capable of achieving.”

The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Makyla Hendricks, the site supervisor of the program, explained the group plays different running games on Thursdays to get them excited about running.

“Capture the flag seems to be the favorite,” Hendricks said. 

Tuesdays are devoted to timed runs, with the goal of improving their time each week. 

“As the program progresses, they run further and further distances in laps around the park,” Jackson said. “They are taught principles throughout the course, including discussing their goals for the class: being active, healthy eating, building endurance, drinking water, exercising for a lifetime, teamwork, race clothing, race etiquette and rest.”

When the kids sign up for the club, they’re automatically enrolled in the annual Fourth of July 5K with the goal being to complete the race with their best possible time. 

The group caps out at 30, but the average over the years has hovered around 24. Hendricks said the group is typically a combination of both runners and non-runners. 

“It gets them active and gets them away from technology,” Hendricks said. 

Hendricks said she hopes running becomes a larger part of the kids’ lives.

“I hope they get to love being healthy and being outside,” Hendricks said. “I hope it becomes a path to the future.”

The Falcon Running Club is just one of several different athletic programs offered by Sandy City. Another program is the Start Smart program. Designed for parents and their kids, the program focuses on general athletic skills including dribbling, throwing, catching, kicking, batting and agility. The classes are a good way for parents to spend time with their children and help prepare them for future participation in youth sports. With the help from an instructor, parents teach their children in a safe, noncompetitive atmosphere to help build confidence. 

Another program is the Little Crazy People. The class is for parents and children ages one to three. The classes allow children to act their age while being exposed to numbers, letters, rhythm, motor skills and more. 

Sandy City also offers a youth fishing program. Kids are taught the basics of fishing at the Sandy Fishing Pond. Each week, the kids learn a different aspect of fishing such as casting, safety, knots, equipment and more. Children are mentored by local volunteers and need to bring their own fishing rod. These classes are very popular and fill up quickly.

To learn more about the Falcon Running Club and the other programs offered by Sandy City, visit sandy.utah.gov.   

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