Each December, Sandy Aucoin puts on a spectacularly fun race for the lower division students, and this year was no different. Academy’s kid-friendly version of the quintessential “Jingle Jog” or “Reindeer Run,” the Lower Division Fun Run is a chance for students to test their endurance, strength and speed. Distances ranged from 400 & 800 meters for the Pre-K3, JK and SK students to a full mile for the first, second, third and fourth graders. The race is long enough to challenge young runners, but short enough that nearly all competitors finish.
Parents and faculty members came out to run, watch and cheer. Head-of-School Mark Heller ran every race. Middle Division Director John Pitcairn, a veteran marathoner, paced first-, second-, third- and fourth-grade milers. Middle Division track coach Steve Reed ran with daughter Haley (Class of ’22), while Varsity cross-country coach Gillian Tedeschi encouraged and ran with the runners she thought needed positive feedback and a confidence boost. (Coach Reed said, jestingly, that he was also “scouting.”) Lower Division Music Director Aleida Morse, recovering from a strong half-marathon last weekend, helped direct runners along the course. Coach Kris Carlson ran the last race of the day, the first- and second-grade mile. Lower Division Librarian and avid runner Deb Szarko finished right behind her.
It was truly a fun day: an enthusiastic cheering section, gorgeous sunny weather, great music, colored flags at the finish line! And the best parts? According to our student-athletes: the mid-race “water stop” (when else is it perfectly OK to “litter”—fling an empty Dixie cup onto the ground?); cool “finishers’ medals”; and the “post-race party”, an awards ceremony with bananas and green slushies from Sonic—tasty “recovery fuel” for hungry athletes.
– Article: Gillian Tedeschi
– Photos: Shelly Grossbard, Jennifer Falby