When Luke Kimble runs before school in the morning, the third-grader caps his final lap by running backward, his head turned sideways so he doesn’t bump into other children.
On April 29, Kimble and his Liberty Elementary School community marked a million miles being logged globally as part of the Morning Mile program.
The Morning Mile, founded by fitness expert Fitz Koehler, is in 150 schools worldwide, and the parent-led program has been at Liberty, in the Keller Independent School District, for roughly three years. Students, parents and faculty run, or walk in the program, which encourages children to exercise.
Principal Janet Travis said a parent brought the idea to the school to promote healthy lifestyles and it caught on. Travis estimated that in three years, children at Liberty have run or walked about 20,000 miles.
Kimble has logged about 200 miles this school year alone, but he’s just happy to run before spending a day learning.
“It’s my favorite part of the day because I get to run around and waste all my energy,” he said after a 40 minute run. “When I get to school, I’m ready to go.”
When the children get to the field behind the school they hang their back packs on a fence and quickly pick up step to catch up with their friends and teachers.
“They’re having fun, which is number one, and then they’re exercising, which is great,” Travis said.
After a run, Kimble put his arm around another runner and NRH resident, Robert Sibr, and said, “I could not do it without this guy.”
Kindergarten teacher Courtney Brandsma walked with some of her students like Bella Fore, and said it’s a great social time for the students and can tell when some of her students did not run before school.
“They come in ready to go,” she said. “It’s a good energy boost in the morning.”
The children get rewarded for the amount of miles they run with little feet trinkets and the class with the most miles at the end of the year gets passes to a trampoline park.
North Richland Hills residents and student Kaitlin and Kaila Dietel came that morning with the necklaces showing off their awards.
“It’s a great way to get fit,” Kaila Dietel, a fourth-grader said. “I love this.”