Elementary Running Clubs: Learning to Love the Sport

A quiet revolution is taking place, one small pair of sneakers at a time. With boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm, the young students of EMS ISD are discovering the incredible benefits of running. In a world filled with screens and gadgets, these pint-sized athletes are lacing up their shoes, hitting the track, and uncovering a world of physical and mental rewards that go far beyond the finish line.

Sometimes, the simplest strides can lead to the greatest victories. Coach Brian Ruiz works tirelessly to prepare the elementary schoolers for those victories. Arriving at Boswell two years ago, Ruiz learned there was no running club at the elementary school level, and he decided to change that

“These kids can focus, and we need to start them early so they have time to fall in love with the sport,” Coach Ruiz said. “A few kids can begin in the first grade, while the majority need to wait until second. Most of them have an innate sense of competition. My job is to teach them to win against others but, more importantly, to win against themselves.”

Coach Ruiz is just now getting the running clubs going in the Eagle Mountain elementary schools. “The beauty of these kids is their enthusiasm and their willingness to try something new. Waiting until seventh grade to start them is just too late. That’s precisely why Boswell’s high school running and cross-country teams are good but should be much better. They didn’t start early enough.”

Coach Ruiz works closely with Cowtown Marathon in developing his running program. Cowtown’s two-day, annual event is the last weekend in February. The Cowtown Children’s Activities for Life & Fitness Program (CALF) provides training camps, grants, and running shoes to children in need. CALF benefits from all proceeds generated by The Cowtown.

Created in 2009, CALF’s mission is to promote a lifelong love of fitness. Starting early means participating kids grow up with fitness as a natural, constant part of their lives. More than 50,000 financial grants help with entry fees, and thousands of pairs of properly fitted running shoes help prepare elementary kids for the 5K (three miles) race. Ruiz’s past accomplishment list includes a win in The Cowtown.

“I honestly look forward to going to work every day,” the coach and science teacher said. “Going to the Cowtown in February and seeing thousands of healthy and excited kids all over, getting ready to run, is one of the most beautiful and powerful sights you’ll ever witness because what you’re really watching is our future growing and developing.” The Cowtown is held at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall. For more information: info@cowtownmarathon.org

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