There is an event going on today at Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School here in San Diego which is taking a throwback approach to kids running. The 2nd Annual Chelsea King Invitational Mile benefiting Chelsea’s Light Foundation is staging a series of one-mile races open to boys and girls in San Diego County. And here’s the wrinkle – somebody is going to win! There are even qualifying times of 7 min/mile for boys, 8 min/mile for girls! Qualifying times, not the inert “everyone’s a winner and no times are recorded” format which has mirrored the general decline in adult running performance this past decade.
Kids from third to sixth grade will participate, and they must have teacher approval, i.e. homework up to date, and good citizenship. Digital timing is provided by the San Diego Triathlon Club, and each race will have “rabbits” to ensure fast times. Imagine, rabbits for kids’ races. A brave new world, indeed.
The purpose of this event is to honor the memory of Poway High School runner Chelsea King who was killed February 2010 while out running near her home, and to promote the ideals she exemplified: athletic excellence, academic achievement, sportsmanship, and community outreach. Although this event is intended to benefit Chelsea’s Light Foundation, organizers underscore that the event is not being produced by Chelsea’s Light Foundation.
Awards will go five deep with overall champions receiving pure silver commemorative medals, along with the title of “fastest elementary miler in San Diego County.”
We salute P.E. teacher Ms. Mary Lou Baranowski for organizing this event, and hope others will follow her lead and bring back healthy competition to our nation’s youth.