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Lanigan Elementary Runners Train for Mini-Martian

Students from the Farmington Hills school will participate in this year's Mini-Martian.

When Martians invade Dearborn on April 14, scores of students from in Farmington Hills will be among them. 

The annual Martian Marathon and Mini-Martian for kids are organized by Running Fit, as a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training Michigan chapter. Lanigan parent Sara Bowman has participated in the run, with her son running the "mini", and wanted to find a way to get other kids involved. 

With the full support of Principal Robert Kauffman, she contacted Running Fit, and company president Randy Step came out to inspire the students.

"He did a pep rally and we opened it up to the whole school," Bowman said. "I thought maybe 20 kids would show up."

Now, about 180 students, from kindergarten to fourth grade, show up at twice weekly practices to run around the parking lot after school. Parents volunteer to help the kids keep track of how many laps they've done and to keep the practice running smoothly. 

Kids earn charms for every five miles they've completed, and they'll receive a medal when they complete the Martian Mini-Marathon. Bowman said students were very excited about the medals at the kick-off in January, but the charms are also a great motivator.

"It's tangible for them," she said. "I think some of them have forgotten about the medal."

Parents have been very supportive and don't seem to mind having to pick up their children late in the afternoon, Bowman said. 

"I think parents see the benefit," she said. "This is going to help the kids in whatever they choose to do, because running is a part of every sport."

Bowman has turned in 130 registrations for the Mini-Martian – and she'll be there with them, running the Martian Marathon.

Correction: The headline on the original version of article incorrectly identified the race for which the students are training, which is the "Mini-Martian". 

FH Lesa March 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Joni, Sadly you were able to correct the headline before I could tar-n-feather you as well but alas.......I'll settle with commenting solely on the running club activity. I have (and know) a handful of kids participating on Mondays and Wednesdays and although they have no interest in running at the Martian, they are having a ton of fun getting outside with their friends and excercising. I am not a coordinator....or volunteer....and I don't know the parent that has arranged this....but I think the effort is a noble one. The participation has been marvelous, the kids and adults enjoy it, and it clearly shows you don't need a new running track to get out there get fit! Thanks for the article on a noteworthy activity for our kids.
John March 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Wow! This thread did not even get out of the starting blocks without a false start. I could easily sprint ahead of the pack when it comes to taxes; however, I'll stay on track. It was nice to see a positive activity for the children of this community highlighted, and I'll cheer for anyone willing to make the considerable commitment to mentor 180 children. The Martian Mini-Marathon is helping the principal, teachers, and parents of Lanigan elementary train their students to have a winning attitude instead of racing home to play on their Wii or "play"station. Maybe some of us could follow the kids example, and be a participant instead of a sports critic.
Tanya March 27, 2012 at 01:21 PM
My daughter and many of her friends are involved in the mini-marathon! Every Monday and Wednesday are motivators! Lanigan is a huge family and parents are very involved and staff here are supportive- sorry the staff at FPS are not as motivated- which is what happens when there are so many cuts to wages (different subject). I am very proud of Sara and all her help getting this program together! Great job to her and those that participate!
Charles Paul March 27, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Terry, I congratulate you on your creativity. To find fault with a volunteer parent who organizes 180 school kids in an after school exercise program, and then manages to somehow attack the entire school board as a failure because of it requires a great deal of effort on your part. The ease with which to toss aside any rationale or the slightest bit of good humor to reach your absurd conclusions notwithstanding, I find your thought processes most insightful. Keep up the good work. The rest of the community looks forward to the next installments of your creative efforts.
JMC April 14, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Terry, although it was not reported on the patch, several teachers participated in practices, helped to make sure that the kids were stretched out before they ran, and ran in the Martian themselves. Most of the teachers who ran early in the day stayed to cheer their students on. Sara did an EXCELLENT job of bringing the program to the school and supporting it, and several staff members embraced it and supported her. It truly would have been a shame if this were not the case.

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