Students get their laps in as they prepare for the inaugural Apex Benefits Monumental Kids 5K, which will take place outside Lucas Oil Stadium on the evening of Oct. 6.

Youngsters from across Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) are getting their last few laps in as they prepare for the inaugural Apex Benefits Monumental Kids 5K, which will take place outside Lucas Oil Stadium on the evening of Oct. 6.

For the last several weeks, students from 29 IPS schools have been training twice weekly to ready their bodies for the event.

At William McKinley School 39, teachers Julie Herdman and Julie Busch have been co-leading the school’s running club to train youngsters for the race. The pair have been meeting twice a week with students and staff members to implement the Apex Benefits Monumental Kids Movement curriculum, which educates youth about the benefits of exercise, proper diet and healthy living.

Through these meetings, Herdman and Busch have been able to focus on nutrition, stretching, pacing while running/walking, team building and setting goals so that students can enjoy and learn about the healthy components of fitness.

“Having other staff members join our students at practice has been extra special for our students to see their own teachers actively engaging in physical fitness and incorporating all the things we’ve been learning during our club meetings,” said Busch, who teaches third grade, and is an avid runner. “One of the most exciting practices was when students counted the number of laps they ran around our school building (4 laps equals 1 mile.) The motivation and determination of our students to exceed 1 mile and even reach 3 miles shows that we are going to be prepared for the 5K event!

“Our students are so excited for this culminating event to celebrate all their hard work and training they’ve been doing for the past seven weeks! Next Thursday will sure be an event to remember!”

Beard, who also teaches fifth grade at Jonathan Jennings Elementary School 109, is the team motivator, responsible for physically preparing the students for the 5K, as well as for teaching them about healthy eating habits.

“It has been pretty easy to follow the curriculum from the Monumental website,” she said. “This is my fouth year doing this program and my favorite part about the program is the love for the sport of running that I can foster in the students. They all really rise to the occasion and strive to do better than the last time they ran.”

In addition to the 5K race to be held on the streets surrounding Lucas Oil Stadium, the event will include an expo and kids’ activity zone in the Lucas Oil parking lot south of the stadium, where students and families will have the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and engage with over 20 participating organizations and participate in wellness activities.

The event is expected to host more than 1,000 students, (ages 14 and under) from nearly 60 schools in Pike Township, Perry Township and IPS.

“This new event, made possible by public participation in all Beyond Monumental events, including the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, and key partners like Apex Benefits, continues the organization’s overall mission to actively support youth health and well-being by providing access to exceptional events and programs,” said Jed Cornforth, executive director, Beyond Monumental. “We are thrilled to offer this unique celebration of the students, schools, families and motivators that continue to make Indianapolis and the surrounding communities a healthier place to live.”
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