On the run — and loving it

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Club at Powderhorn Elementary gets kids on track for fitness

By Ramsey Scott

Six-year-old Katy Carpenter has a need for speed, and Powderhorn Elementary’s new Run Club is the solution. 


“I can’t believe I can run that fast with a fake leg,” Katy said. “I can run as fast as a cheetah. I’m serious.”

Katy has a prosthetic right leg; doctors had to sever her leg at the knee when she was a baby. 

“(The Run Club) helps me get better running, because I have to get used to it without a leg,” Katy said.

The Powderhorn Run Club gives Katy and the rest of the student members a chance to tear up the track at the school twice a week. 

Each student has a punch card that keeps track of completed laps on a quarter-mile track. Students are given a small charm to wear on a bracelet for every 10 laps completed. 

The goal of the club is to motivate kids to stay in shape, said Danielle Ehlinger, a Powderhorn parent who helped organize the club. 

“It provides something else for them to do outside. They get out there and realize how much fun it is,” Ehlinger said. “After the first day, I was hearing great feedback from teachers, parents and students. They’ve been out here running laps on non-club days.”

The school on West Coal Mine Avenue landed a grant from Jeffco Healthy Schools for the program this year, and the Parent Teacher Association has agreed to fund it next year, Ehlinger said. The club is in its third week, and Ehlinger said it’s been an amazing success so far. 

Getting the kids out running has had another side effect besides keeping them healthy — bringing the shy kids out of their shells, said parent Kim Ashley, another organizer.

“The club gets kids who aren’t normally involved in recess involved. They’re able to do something with the other kids. There’s not a lot of kids sitting by themselves,” Ashley said. “That’s a side effect that none of us thought about when we created it. When I was visiting my son’s class, the kids were all talking about it. And all of the kids are talking about it, even the ones I know are super-shy.”

The social aspect was apparent on the track April 11 as kids ran and walked together, cheering one another on. Yet there’s an element of competition as well.

Heather Robles, 12, has a piece of candy riding on how many laps she completes before the end of the school year. 

“My little brother and I have a bet on who can run the most,” Heather said. “When we go to our grandparents’, they let us buy a Tootsie Roll from them. He’s going to have to buy me one.”


Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www
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