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Teacher: Holly Lambert who teaches at Hillsboro and Lincoln Elem. in Purcellville, VA. Holly Lambert can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: C & O Run

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To build cardio-respiratory strength and endurance and to encourage families to be active together.

Suggested Grade Level: K-12

Materials Needed:

A track or a designated area that is safe to jog.
Lap Log Sheets - a Weekly paper log for each class participating with each students' name, along with the days of the week (Monday through Friday)
Toe Tokens (optional but helps reward individual student efforts and motivate).
Map of the C&O Canal or any other recreational trail.
Large push pins with the name of each class.
A place to display map, pins, pictures, and other related articles. Gold and Silver Shoe (tennis shoes screwed to a board as a plaque and spray painted gold or silver). Optional, used to further motivate group effort. The class with the most miles earns to Gold or Silver shoe to display in their classroom.
Research materials.

C & O Run

Beginning in April, teachers are given a packet of information about this jogging program that includes instructions, a map of the jogging area, safety considerations and weekly lap logs. Before the program begins, I talk to the students about the C & O canal, and give them a brief overview of its purpose, history, and what it is today. Students jog or walk laps around the course outside during class physical activity time, extra time or recess as they choose. When they finish their laps, they return to class and tally them on the Lap Log sheet.

For younger grades, teachers keep track for them. Teachers are welcome to participate as well and I have many that do! This continues throughout the week - Mon. through Fri. Friday, I collect the Lap Logs and tally up each student's laps along with the class total. Each student receives toe tokens for every 5 miles they jog. I hand those out in PE class. When total miles are calculated for the class, the designated class PIN is moved along the C & O Canal map to a new destination. The following PE class, I read each class a short excerpt about where their class is "camped out". "The C & O Canal Companion" by Mike High is an excellent source of information. In addition, I have many articles and pictures to further help with student imagination. I also have added the "Where on the Canal is Mrs. Lambert" pin in which I travel to a new section of the canal each weekend and come back and report my experiences to the class. I usually do this on my bike and it has been quite a challenge and a lot of fun.

We usually run this program for about 7 weeks and then final miles are totaled. To further reward individual effort, the student with the most miles in each class earns the "big foot" toe token and the class with the first and second most miles earns the gold and silver shoes.

We close the program with a hiking trip on the C&O Canal. Each year we try to go somewhere new and hike about a 3.5 mile stretch of the towpath. Classes do research projects on the Canal and present them before the trip. The National Park Service sends a ranger to acompany us and give short, informational talks as we travel. At the end of the hike, we eat lunch on a Canal Lock and then take the bus back to school. This is for Grades 3-5. We have a lot of parents go with us and we have a great time!


C & O Canal is my favorite trail but you can use any trail that is near your area and is a good place to recreate.

Allow students to each work at their own pace.

Depending on severity of disability, decrease the distance covered to earn a reward.

Have students run with a buddy.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Be enthusiastic and have fun! That's contagious. Also, this doesn't work without help from classroom teachers. Make it as easy as possible for them to aid in this program and reward their efforts with lots of praise!

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Posted on PEC: 5/8/2005 and has received 128 votes.

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