BJF students show iron strength
Fifth- and sixth-grade students at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School have the determination and perseverance of world-class athletes.
Students in the IronKids Club, a group of about 40 students, have made a commitment to complete their own version of an IronMan Triathlon.
Just like a triathlon revolves around biking, swimming and running, the students will take on reading, service and running during the fall semester in order to receive the IronKids title.
“It’s a club that incorporates academics, being service-minded and fitness, which is especially important with the obesity rate we have in the United States,” said Lindsey Burch, club sponsor.
In a traditional IronMan triathlon, an athlete competes in a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a marathon, which is 26.2-miles of running. The club’s modified triathlon consists of 2.4-miles of service — measured by one-tenth of a mile for every selfless act or service completed, a reading log of 112-page sets and a 26.2-mile run completed over the semester, including the Olathe Kid’s Marathon on Oct. 16.
The group meets a few times a month to complete stretches and run, after a short lesson from Burch.
“We’ve had a good turnout,” Burch said. “Typically 25 or 30 students will come to each session.”
Students were well on their way to becoming IronKids at their last meeting in September.
Marcos Garcia, sixth-grader, said he enjoyed the club meetings after school.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I love to run, and it’s good to help people and read a lot of pages to make school easier.”
Akeya Fletcher, sixth-grader, said she enjoyed guest speakers the group attracts.
“We had two people that talked about doing a real IronMan,” she said. “They told us about the races and how to run and stuff.”
Brian and Heather Evans, known for competing in IronMan triathlons, visited the club on Sept. 16, but they weren’t the only special guests the club has received.
On Sept. 29, the students received a workout from former Kansas City Chief Kimble Anders.
Anders talked to students about school and the importance of education before leading them through a six-station workout.
“It helps me learn how to workout and get exercise,” Akeya said of the club. “It’s fun, and it’s something everyone can do. You can walk or you can jog.”
Marcos said he’s completed some of his service miles by helping neighbors and completing household chores.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “The running is the easiest part for me, but it’s all fun.”
Burch also proves to be a good motivator for the students.
“Ms. Burch also told us about her time running a half marathon,” Akeya said. “She said that she was nice to everyone and smiled when she was running with them. It makes you feel better. She cheers us on, too, and runs with us.”
Marcos said he hopes the club continues after this year.
“I think other kids would really like it,” he said. “I’d tell them to be ready to work hard, but to have fun.”