A hoard of black shirts gleefully inched across the Plainview Activity Center parking lot. The 94 elementary school students eagerly made their way to the big gym.

A hoard of black shirts gleefully inched across the Plainview Activity Center parking lot. The 94 elementary school students eagerly made their way to the big gym.

They earned their day in the spotlight by running more in one semester than most of us do in a year.

Twenty miles, to be exact.

The runners received the reward for all their hard work on Wednesday, as they were presented their “20-Mile Club” T-shirts. What started in 2008 as a program with 39 students entitled “Running for Gold” has erupted into a goal for hundreds, a fun way to achieve physical fitness and a lesson in responsibility.

“Last year, a lot came really close (to running 20 miles) but didn’t understand how to do it,” Plainview Elementary physical education teacher and assistant track coach Kelly Gordon said. “Once they understood how to do it, it had a big increase.”

The “it” Gordon is referring to is gaining entry to the 20-Mile Club, which requires Plainview students in grades first through fifth to run or jog 20 miles in 10 weeks. The goal is to get a mile per physical education period.

The students have P.E. twice a week. Some achieve their goal in less than 10 weeks, some exceed the required 20 miles ... and some don’t qualify for the club. The program originally was the 100-Mile Club for six years, then the school switched over to 20 miles last year to lighten the load.

Some of those who miss out on the commemorative black shirts, however, fall short for reasons besides not making the mileage. Students from third to fifth grade are required to earn and keep track of a chain of miniature plastic feet, with each foot representing a mile on their journey.

No 20 feet equals no 20-Mile Club membership.

“Every time you made a mile, you got a foot,” Gordon said. “Some kids lost feet, so it was a responsibility lesson, too.”

“Most wore them to school every day,” Plainview fifth-grader Sunny Davenport, 11, said of the chains. “I kept mine in my locker.”

Davenport also said kids wear them around their necks to class, but playing with them during school hours could lead to confiscation from teachers.

“They’d get really annoyed,” Davenport said. “We’d get them back at the end of class.”

Another bonus of the 20-Mile Club is its role in peaking interest in, as well as a subtle feeder system for,  the hugely successful Plainview cross country program. Some of the kids in the club are already competing in middle-school meets.

“This kind of thing benefits the whole program,” Gordon said. “The principal and administration backs us on this. I like to think this is where it starts.”


Plainview 20-Mile Club*

Charlie Gannon, Hunter Young, Sophie Gannon, Bod Dighton, Jace Brandenburg, Cole Gannon, Blake Nowell, Parker Wallace, Isaac Brown, Adam Fuller, Jaxon Clemons, Abraham Enriquez, Oscar Interiano, Brock Parham, Gaven Perry, Sabastien Wood, Cole Skelly, Layne Davis, Jakob Geurin, Cason Dillion, Spencer Potter, Riley Hammon, Clay Christensen, Ty Davenport, Josh Hottel, Rafael Interiano, Braden Landis, XZavier Martinez, Scotty Maxey, Anna Simmons, Kevin Zheng, Bryce Smith, Rylan Hodges, Britton Sperry, Deryn Hobbs, Brittney Dunlap, Chase Owens, Faith Llyod, Adeline Norton, Rylee Sudberry, Cody Taylor, Haivan Thurman, Cameron Wall, Abby Atkinson, Mark French, Rebecca Warden, Grant Gorrell, Kaden Thomas, Evan Deere, Ashlyn Howell, Carlos Otero, Meagan Young, Morgan Barnes, Katie Finley, Jordan Lewis, Tyler Yakubchick, Saxon Ross, Yanel Otero, Spencer Somerville, Lydia Wang, Kobi Moore, Katelyn Cobb, David Cox, Masha Dyacheck, Blake Meng, Jordan Jones, Kade Norris, Emily Peery, Kylie Noris, Thomas Rhines, Jake Simmons, Keontray Smithers, Austin Barber, Paxton Little, Jacob Reames, Brett Woods, Kobe Brewster, Ryan Bailey, Sunny Davenport, Musab Khan, Clayton Lloyd, Haley Pool, Cobey Shelton, Damon Bales, Darian Barnes, Brycen Cox, Jacob Johnson, Hannah Matherly, Robert Parker, Hunter Smith, Broc Berus, Casey Grant and Ally Parham.

*Name spellings are as reported by Plainview Elementary

Erik K. Horne