SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Let Me Run team competed in the Action for Distraction 5K supporting the Goryeb Children’s Hospital. Sparta boys came together for their final 5K of their third season on May 6 in Morristown.
Mud and rain did not stop the boys from enjoying the event.
“The boys all crossed the finish line amid smiles, cheers and the support from their team mates and coaches,” coach Ellen Willwerth said.
Coaches Amy Henrie, Caroline Wilson, Kevin Wilson and Willwerth were all on hand cheering them on.
WIllwerth explained Henrie had introduced the program to Sparta after searching for “something that would engage the boys in fitness as well as focusing on the other social challenges they face.”
“I was very impressed by the curriculum that the Let Me Run program offered,” Henrie said.
Let Me Run is a national organization, that provides coaches’ training and scholarships. Each program must have at least one coach who is certified by the program. Their published information says they seek to combine exercise with fun activities and lessons to help boys learn teamwork, build relationship skills, create friendships, grow emotionally, amplify their self-esteem, empower themselves and other and live an active lifestyle.
Let Me Run was founded by Ashley Armistead. She was a Girls on the Run coach who had two baby boys. She wanted her boys to have an opportunity similar to that offered through the girls’ program. She was also seeking to provide an alternate to what she terms the “boy code;” embodied in phrases such as “suck it up, don’t be a sissy and always be in control” and “boys will be boys.”
Together with local educators, coaches, physicians and businessmen Armisted developed the priorities for the program. It was first offered in the spring of 2008 as an after-school club. It became a 501 (c) (3).
Each team has eight to 14 boys with two trained coaches. They meet two days a week for an hour and 15 minutes. They begin with a lap, then stretch, run and have activities. The practices end with the mantra, “Let me be me. Let me reach out. Let me run.”
Other teams in the northern New Jersey region include Ramsey, Oakland and Maplewood.