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South Jordan Journal

Elk Ridge students, faculty run for fun, fitness

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Julie Slama

Students run either a 1-mile course or a 5k in Elk Ridge Middle School’s seventh annual Goblin Chase. (Anabelle Thomas and Allison Bryan/Elk Ridge Middle School)

There weren’t any ghosts or witches running, but Elk Ridge students and teachers were lacing up their shoes for the seventh annual Goblin Chase.

About 60 students took off to run through the neighborhood Oct. 30 as an optional activity, said Assistant Principal Spencer Campbell.

“This gives students an opportunity to participate in a challenging event, and it’s a way we can celebrate these kids,” he said. “Some treat it as a race after competing in the cross country season while others walk with friends or a class and do it together for fun.”

The run, which features both a 1-mile course and a 5k, began when former Elk Ridge Assistant Principal and current Oquirrh Hills Middle School Assistant Principal Audrey Fish had leftover race numbers from a previous school’s basketball fundraiser — a 5k.

“I was thinking we could put them to use at Elk Ridge and encourage the kids to be healthy and get exercise within the school community and school hours,” she said. “It started with about 30 students that first year, and it’s gotten bigger each year.”

Although there’s not a goblin that chases the students, nor do they chase a goblin, Fish said the race was set at this time of year for the predictable fall weather and to tie into Halloween.

“I loved doing it, and the kids have so much fun,” she said.

Tying into the event is the annual fall festival, which this year was held on Halloween.

“There are carnival games and a dance,” Campbell said. “It’s a day to celebrate the kids and all the awesome things they do.” 

The Parent-Teacher-Student Association student leadership volunteer to help organize and be in charge of the race, giving them leadership opportunities, he added.

“Everyone who runs or volunteers gets a T-shirt, and they’re pretty cool,” Campbell said. 

Participants receive certificates, and top finishers are awarded goodie bags filled with Gatorades and granola bars.

This year’s 1-mile winners include first-place finishers Robert Giudice and Vanessa Pulley; second-place runners Daniel Clark; and three-way tie between Lindsey Neumann, Macey Shosted and Liberty Warner; and third-place finisher Alex Nay.

In the 5k, the winners were Gavin Lee and Elysse Powley; second place went to Miles Miller and Natalie Swain; and third-place finishers were Trey Hawkins and Natalie Bushnell.

Joining the students running were faculty members Janice Dalley, Amanda Mair, Courtney Moylan, Becky Payne, Steve Pollock, Christie Robinson and Aaron Saxton as well as Principal Wyatt Bentley.

While not everyone trains, Campbell said it helps encourage students to be healthy. It also counts toward the Wapiti Award, an honor students can earn all three years of their middle school career.

Students can earn points for 100 percent attendance each quarter, a grade-point average of 3.8 or higher, not having any tardies, auditioning for the musical, participating in school program such as ballroom dance or Lego robotics, performing a service project outside of school, participating in the Goblin Chase school fun run, being part of the PTSA, playing on a sports team or several other ways, Elk Ridge Assistant Principal Michelle Kilcrease said. 

“Each criteria is worth a certain number of points,” she said. “Once students have earned this, then we honor them at a catered banquet and ceremony at the end of the year.” 

In eighth grade, students can receive the silver Wapiti medal, and in ninth grade, they can earn the gold Wapiti medallion. If the student earns all three, he or she is awarded a platinum medal.

“The Goblin Chase is just a fun way for all of our students who want to run and exercise together,” Campbell said.