Energies Run High
Energies Run High at the Second Annual K-5 Duathlon
It was quite early on an energized Saturday morning in October when Sayville held its Second Annual K-5 Elementary Duathlon during which an impressive show of 304 students (up from last year’s 255) joined either the Fun Run (for grades K-1) or the Duathlon (for grades 2-5).
“We are excited,” said Gary Jensen, Lincoln Avenue Physical Education teacher and one of the Duathlon organizers, “to be able to offer an activity which encourages students to live a healthy lifestyle through a family-oriented activity.”
As the name implies, the Duathlon involves two activities: running and biking. Although these are often timed events, the Sayville Elementary School Duathlon organizers emphasized that: “This event is not a race, and all students should be proud for their participation, no matter how long it takes to complete the course.”
Similar to last year, the youngest participants of the Fun Run were off first, circling the entire Lincoln Avenue field, a distance of ½ mile, and crossed the official finish line accompanied by supportive family members. The “Run – Bike –Run” followed immediately in grade levels. First participants were the Fifth-grade boys, who sprang into action as soon as they heard the “go” signal. One minute later, the Fifth-grade girls followed, and the succession continued for each grade and gender until all the entrants were off and running.
“We are teaching the students to find personal satisfaction in achieving a challenging goal,” added Elizabeth Bolger, the other Lincoln Avenue Physical Education teacher and Duathlon organizer. “We are trying to build the students confidence through new experiences.”
After completing the first circuit around Lincoln Avenue fields, the “Duathletes” grabbed their bikes for the second part: a 2.5-mile ride on a designated route in the Lincoln Avenue vicinity with an escort provided by the Sayville Fire Department. Once the bikers returned to the Lincoln Avenue School, they corralled their bikes and took the final 1/2–mile run around the field both, crossing the official finish line in their personal best time. Greeted with cheers, hollers, and hugs as each accomplished what they had originally intended—to finish the Sayville Duathlon—the students and their families were animated with the exhilaration of their achievements
Prior to the Duathlon this year, a contest was held to design T-shirts, generously donated by Sponsors (see below ), that were given to each finisher. Special acknowledgements go to Cherry Avenue Fifth-grader Christine Arlotta for her winning T-shirt design.
Lincoln Avenue Principal, Dr. Michele LeBlanc was enthusiastic about the comprehensive effect such a cohesive activity had in the community: “It is great to bring the students and parents together from all three elementary schools and celebrate wellness. I could not be prouder of these two physical education teachers who have exerted countless hours to put this event together with meticulous, intelligent and loving care! You know you are working in an outstanding community when you have this volume of teachers, parents, and high school students volunteering to make this event like none other. It is a tremendous team effort as our Lincoln Avenue Site-Based Team and office secretary Paula Troha contributed so much to this event. I know it will be a memorable experience for all of our young athletes.”
And if you asked any of the young athletes who participated, not only was it lots of fun, they look forward to doing it again next year.
With special thanks, the Duathlon organizers would like to acknowledge the T-shirt sponsors: Gold—Sayville Running Company, Sals Pizzeria, Sayville Teachers Association, STAT Health, Grady Animal Hospital, Sweet Gormet; Silver—South Shore Abstract; and Bronze—Sayville Association of School Administrators, Island Industrial Boiler, Inc , and Michael P. Walsh, ESQ. Their contribution—the yellow T-shirt given to each Duathlete—was another bright spot in the hearts and memories of the recipients.
(photos provided by Duathlon organizers.)