Check Out These Kids!

There was a commotion at Tower Park. What was going on? Why are all these kids there in gym clothes and running shoes? I’ll tell you why: This is the Mileage Club! Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools teamed up to provide a summer running program for the middle schoolers.

What the kids do in the program is keep track of how many miles they run during the summer and try to meet specific goals depending on how many years that they have been in the club. If a child meets his or her goal, then they get a cool t-shirt!

“If they are a first year runner, their goal was to run 50 miles,” explained Amanda Nunnelly, head cross country coach at Ben Franklin Middle School. “Second year runners, their goal was 80 miles, and third year runners, 150 miles. They had eight weeks to do it. We have summer fun runs every Tuesday and Thursday to help the kids build up their miles, and the rest they are probably running on their own.”

This is the second year that this program. Coaches from both schools got together to brainstorm ways for kids to get ready for the cross country season. Thus, the creation of the Mileage Club. The program helps the kids get into shape, get a feel for what the upcoming season will bring, and ultimately perform better. It’s beneficial for other reasons, too!

“For the sixth graders it’s good because they’re coming into a school where they’re meeting people from other elementary schools, so they’re able to come together and meet new students and friends before the actual school year starts,” said Alex Otto, who is also the head coach for the Ben Franklin cross country team. “For the seventh and eighth graders, they already know each other so it’s just good to be a part of something for the school.”

But you don’t have to be on the cross country team to be in the Mileage Club. Anyone can join!

“We have one girl, for example, who is a soccer player who did it,” said Nunnelly. “And certainly the summer fun runs. The whole community is involved in that.”

There you have it, folks. Something great to keep your kids healthy, busy, and they can hang out and make new friends! What’s better than that?

Want to know more about the Mileage Club? Email Amanda Nunnelly at