Fourth-Grade One Miler

One of the quintessential James River traditions--the 4th-Grade One Miler--ran on Friday morning, October 14. It is an event I very much look forward to each year. And so do the kids! I just walked down to the 4th-grade classrooms and was besieged by the entire grade wanting me to sign their race shirts. They were beyond excited!  It's easy to see how this race has become an annual tradition since being started over 30 years ago. It embodies so many of the character traits we promote at James River--leadership, hard work, respect, and fairness.

The 4th graders trained in PE during the weeks leading up to the race. Teacher and Coach Rob Woods, who is in charge of the race, had his students physically fit and ready. But Rob knew this race is about much more than fitness or speed. Race preparation included goal-setting techniques with an emphasis on supporting and encouraging classmates.

Many students had not run this distance before and so, in addition to the physical effort, they were challenged to learn to be mentally tough. Meeting this challenge in such a supportive atmosphere was a great boost for all involved. While some attention was paid to the winners of the race, the 4th-Grade One Miler was, as always, more about experiencing the joy of running. The cheers were just as loud for those at the back of the pack as for the frontrunners. Also, this was a Cardinal Buddy event, so the older kids escorted their younger friends to the field and helped them cheer. The entire student body, waving their handmade signs of encouragement, joined together to celebrate the 4th grade’s accomplishment.

James River has so many wonderful traditions that exemplify our mission. The 4th-Grade One Miler, in particular, celebrates what we are about--supporting and encouraging our students and each other to set goals, work hard, stretch themselves, and support one another in the process.