DUNLAP — Students at Ox Bow Elementary School were running the hallways like they were on a track Monday afternoon, but no one got in trouble.

Running the halls usually is forbidden, but on Mondays and Thursdays after school for about an hour, that rule no longer applies.

Twice a week, about 60 students in first and second grade spend time running, skipping, walking or jogging in the halls as part of an after school program called “Run the Halls.”

The program is sponsored by Goshen Health and is designed to promote movement to strengthen the students’ physical activity and overall health, said Shaun McAllister, a physical education teacher at Ox Bow.

On Monday, students ran as many laps as they could around the hallways for 18 minutes.

McAllister and other volunteers helped the students keep track by giving them a popsicle stick for each lap they ran. For every lap or mile completed, students are awarded a charm to add to a bracelet they each received at the start of the program.

But the students aren’t just rewarded for how many laps they run. They’re also recognized for their leadership, encouragement and sportsmanship, McAllister said. 

“Like if someone drops a stick and they’re honest and they’re like, ‘hey you dropped this’ rather than keeping it for themselves,” McAllister said. “Or someone who’s encouraging other students and having really good sportsmanship are all great things in addition to running.”

Many of the students said they’ve always loved running, but said doing it in the hallways makes it more fun. 

“It’s like breaking the law,” second-grader Julianne Auvil said, laughing.

First-grader Lestat Vannoster said he enjoys it because it’s too cold to run outside right now.

“And by running inside you can still get exercise,” he said.

Others said they like the social aspect of the program

“I like running and I get to spend more time with my friends,” said Holley Rolon, a first-grader.

The program will last until the beginning of May.

Other local elementary schools throughout Elkhart County participating include Jefferson, Prairie View, Monger, York, Riverview and Chandler.

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