CRESTLINE – The second and fourth graders lined up at the finish line just after 9 a.m. Friday in the Hannah Crawford Elementary School’s gymnasium for the Little Eagles Fun Run to celebrate raising about $15,000 for playground upgrades.
Staff members from the Atlanta-based Boosterthon company’s Cincinnati team gave a quick spiel of the rules before paying dues to the US with the National Anthem (just like any other school-sanctioned athletic contest).
And the little eagles were off.
The students walked and ran around the small track in the gym for 30 minutes with parents watching from the sidelines, while staff members monitored the fun on the track. The students would stop at the finish line for volunteers to mark their yellow-color “Little Eagles Fun Run” shirts after completing a lap.
Students can run a maximum of 35 laps.
The Fun Run was the finale to a nine-day program that would increase funds, while promoting fitness. The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization partnered with Boosterthon with the intent to raise funds to upgrade the playground, details of which are not yet set in stone, said Michelle Feik, PTO president.
But students will see some cosmetic changes by the next school year. The playground’s expansion will hopefully take place in the summer of 2017, she said.
“We just like to add to it,” Feik said. “We want to have the money upfront.”
Originally, the goal was set to raise $10,000, but that was reached on Tuesday and Boosterthon raised the goal by $5,000 more.
Feik they are about 3-4 percent away from attaining that goal as well.
Boosterthon started in 2001 and now serves 36 states and has served 1.2 million students for the 2015-16 school year. The company expanded to Ohio in 2014.
“We want to be more than a fundraiser,” said Ryan Kell, general manager of the Cincinnati team for Boosterthon.
The program aims to inspire students about fitness, leadership and character, he said.
Lori Chochran was fortunate to watch her sons Logan, 10, and Jacob Chochran, 8, from the fourth and second grades, respectively, participate.
“They have fun with it,” she said.
The two exclusive sponsors of the event were Donley Ford of Galion and Rolling Acres Chiropractic in Attica. Shawn Auck of New Washington and the owner of Rolling Acres made an appearance at the run with a booth about spinal health. Colonel Crawford is his Alma matter and his daughter Samantha Auck, 6, is in the first grade at Hannah Crawford.
He appreciated how the fundraiser promotes exercise.
Feik said this was the first-year for the run and said Boosterthon has been terrific to work with during the program.
“We hope to bring this company back [in the future],” she said.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.