These teachers are really walking their talk – or should I say running? A team of a dozen teachers from Castle Rock’s Renaissance Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound School participated in a 200-mile race spanning September 6th and 7th.
Castle Rock’s Renaissance Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound School is one of the best leaders in instilling in their students the importance of fitness regimens and team building activities. The school frequently exposes their students to outdoor adventure expeditions that are meant to challenge them and enlighten them. To show they’re serious about these experiences, these 12 teachers decided to lead by example.
One teacher, Lauren Gunn, a non-runner when she agreed to be part of the team, said, “We walk the path, and try and do the same things [our students] do. Even if we’re not runners, we’re not letting fear stop us.”
The relay race, hosted by the Ragnar Relay Series, was run from Copper Mountain to Snowmass and took almost 2 days to complete. Team members even took turns running throughout the night. The relay race format requires the runners to run in shifts – each participant running 3 times for various distances and in differing terrains.
The school is already a tight-knit community, but the whole effort truly brought the students and teachers even closer together. Before the race, students offered words of encouragement for the teachers who were going compete.
“For me, having those encouraging words and the visualization of their little faces just pushed me that extra mile,” teacher Lindsey Burris said.
When one runner was feeling tired and nearly delusional in the middle of the night, he was buoyed up and felt a jolt of energy at the sight of his fellow teacher teammates cheering him on from their van at the side of the road. When teacher Hanni Gilbert had to drop out of the event due to a debilitating migraine, the rest of the team literally went the extra miles by splitting up Gilbert’s portions and running them themselves. They even ran with T-shirts bearing her name as if to carry her with them. The race stopped being about winning and became an opportunity for these colleagues to become even more like family.
As part of the curriculum, the students at Renaissance School are required to participate in outdoor education adventures twice a year. This 200-mile relay race was an important experience for these teachers to truly understand what it’s like to be in their students’ shoes.
“I can say, ‘I want you to push yourself to the point you are stepping out and taking a risk. It’s OK to fail because you have people around you that will support you,’ ” Burris said. “As teachers and educators, we are walking away with so much more knowledge and understanding for kids, especially as we get ready to send them out on these adventure ed programs. It definitely has given us new eyes to look at our kids through. We were in that vulnerable place they are.”
Image Credit: Runner by Tony Alter. Used under creative commons license.
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