How do you picture recess at your neighborhood school? Kids playing chase, hopscotch, or climbing on play structures? You might see all of these at Vargas School in Sunnyvale, but you will also see kids walking or running around the track, filled with purpose and determination, working to complete the equivalent of a marathon over ten weeks’ time.
The Marathon Club at Vargas Elementary School is the brainchild of Dr. Maria Dulay, a Vargas parent, and Office Bradley Militano, the school’s Neighborhood Resource Officer from Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. Marathon Club is designed to help provide an organized physical activity for students at Vargas during morning recess. Officer Militano is an avid runner and is passionate about connecting with children in Sunnyvale, especially those in schools.
The Marathon Club is in its second year of operation at Vargas. It is a 10-week program open to all 1st to 5th grade students. The program is an unqualified success with more than half of the student body participating. Last year, Vargas students ran or walked a combined total of 1,800 miles! Kindergarten students are not yet included because they have a different recess schedule. Every Tuesday and Thursday, parent volunteers help punch cards as participants walk or run around the track, accumulating miles toward a marathon. This year, students who wish to complete their marathon at the city’s 5K KIDS Fun Run and Walk may do so free of charge. Dr. Dulay and Officer Militano are the organizers of the 5K KIDS Fun Run and Walk, the culminating event of the Marathon Club. Registration is free for all Sunnyvale school children who wish to participate in the 5K KIDS Fun Run and Walk, which takes place before the city’s Fit & Fun Fair, starting at 9 AM.
The Fit & Fun Fair will be held on May 5, 11 AM to 3 PM, at Columbia Neighborhood Center (785 Morse Avenue, Sunnyvale). For more information, please e-mail Alicia Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408-523-8150, ext. 19. The Fit & Fun Fair’s webpage is Fitandfunfair.InSunnyvale.com
Sunnyvale school students are lucky to have caring adults working to engage them in healthy activities such as Marathon Club. Dr. Dulay stresses that it is the team of Vargas volunteer parents who makes the program possible. She would like to see Marathon Club offered year-around and to eventually include kindergarten students. Officer Militano is working to start the Marathon Club at all elementary schools where he is the Neighborhood Resource Officer.