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Teacher: Tom Winiecki who teaches at Tom Winiecki in Fayetteville, NY. Tom Winiecki can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Team Marathon

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To develop cardiovascular fitness, as well as to teach a safe level of pacing while running.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Cones to mark a running area, chart to keep track of miles.

Team Marathon

Explain that a marathon is a 26 mile running race that takes Olympic runners about 2 hours to complete. You can equate that distance to your particular area (about as far as if you ran from your school to a particular landmark, or site). Explain that we will be running a marathon in class (not all in one day!). We will be doing it in teams.

If you are inside, set up cones to mark off a running "track." Measure the distance around, so you will know how far they go each day. If you are outside, your running track can be larger.

Everyone will run around the jogging course and count their own laps. When the time is up (you give them a set amount of time to run each day. A good start is 4:00. Each week, give them an additional minute to run as their endurance increases), they will add up their laps with the members of their team to get a "team total." That total is marked on the chart each day that they have P.E. class.

The teacher will stand by the start of the course and count the laps of the leader. The teacher wonít say who the leader is or how many laps they have. Anyone that tells an incorrect number of laps run costs their team a "penalty."

For example,if they donít tell the truth about their total laps, their team is penalized the mistake. For example, if the leader ran 10 laps and someone else says that they ran 12 laps, they only get credit for 8 laps (12-10 = 2 laps difference , 10-2 = 8 laps total.

All of the team members will add up their totals on scrap paper. They are also responsible for their math. The penalties are the same as above: If the team members ran laps of 8, 8, 9, 7 their total would be 32. If they said that they ran 35 laps, they would be penalized 3 laps (35-32 = 3 laps).

After a few weeks, when a team gets to the finish line, it is not done. They will continue to run laps each day in an attempt to get the other teams to the finish line by a set date. Everyone "wins" the race if all of the teams from all of the classes reach the finish line by the last day (that you set).

Also, after the time is up each day, one student will be given a hand held pulse monitor. If their heart rate is in the target zone (140-180 beats/minute) they will earn the entire class a free mile per team! If they donít hit the "target," they will not lose any laps they ran, they just wonít get the free miles.


Have each running team make up a name for their team. They can also draw a logo that describes their team with pictures.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

You can have the students take the "Talk Test" while running. Tell them that if they can talk to someone else while runnning, they are running at the correct speed for them. You can add to it by saying that most every other teacher in the building will ask students to be quiet. During this activity, the students are "wrong" if they are quiet. Talking is encouraged!

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Posted on PEC: 3/6/2003 and has received 60 votes.

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