North Pocono Runners Inc. wrapped up the spring season

Cross country running may be a fall sport for high school athletes, but if you are a runner, there really is no off-season.

Comprised of two clubs (Jefferson Jackrabbits and the Moscow Roadrunners) the North Pocono Runners Inc. wrapped up its spring sessions with a 5K fun run.

The event took place June 7 at Covington Park.

Off & Running

This is the second year of the joint event.

Both clubs end their fall season by participating in Allied Services annual Ryan’s Run.

The Jackrabbits got their start four years ago when club president Alison McHale founded the group after a sizable number of kids kept wanting to run with their parents.

While the grown-ups didn’t mind sharing their runs with the youngsters, McHale and her crew wanted to get something going that was specifically targeted towards helping young runners develop and have a good time in the process.

“We thought we’d get maybe twenty kids to join the club that spring,” McHale said. “We ended up getting about 60!”

The popularity of the club mostly based around the Jefferson Elementary community quickly spread to Moscow Elementary and that fall the Roadrunners got their start.

Both clubs meet weekly through in spring and autumn. They encourage the young runners to work on improving their own times rather than competing against each other.

Ready, Set, Go!

Given the prevailing weather the region has seen over the past few months, conditions for the 5K couldn’t have been more ideal for the early evening trek through the woods.

A total of 138 eager young racers mustered at the start, accompanied by a good number of adult partners, they paced around the park nature trail twice.

While a few opted to walk at times, most maintained a steady jog under the trees, their colorful shirts clashing with the green of spring.

There are no age brackets for the fun run. Tykes as young as kindergarteners sped alongside of twelve-year-olds.

Although it’s non-competitive, leading the pack was the Jackrabbits’ nine-year old Jacob McHugh (see front page) with a time of 22:48.

Right behind him was his seven-year old brother Josh, clocking in at 25:36.

“Jacob is hard-core,” said McHale. “Out of all my runners he’s the most serious about training and never misses a session.”

No matter how one finished, as long as they improved their times over the season, the clubs’ coaches have done their job for the kids.

It’s actually very good preparation for a lifetime of running. Winning for points only matters in team track and cross-country events. In most cases, runners will say it’s always them in a battle against the clock.

More to Come

The clubs take a break for the summer but will start back up again on Wednesday, August 28.

Prospective Jackrabbits can contact Alison McHale at Alimc878@gmail.com and Roadrunner hopefuls can get in touch with Mike Gallacher at mgallacher@yahoo.com.

Wednesday and Friday sessions last from 30-45 minutes working gradually to build up their skills and stamina.

“The kids show up and we take it easy at first, small steps to get them into it,” McHale said. “It’s a build up to the end of the season 5K and everyone has a good time.”