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KSC Swimmers Help Symonds School Students Prepare for Turkey Trot

KSC Swimmers Help Symonds School Students Prepare for Turkey Trot
KSC Swimmers Help Symonds School Students Prepare for Turkey Trot

From Stuart Kaufman, Sports Information: When the gun went off to start the 13th Annual Turkey Trot on November 19, students from the Symonds Elementary School were ready. Since early October members of the Keene State swim and dive teams have helped them prepare for the annual fun run around the walking trails at the Keene school. More than 500 people, including students, their families, and the entire Symonds School community participate in the Turkey Trot festivities.

Once a week the Owl athletes, affectionately known as “Big Feet” have teamed up with their “Little Feet” — students in the third, fourth, and fifth grade — in an after-school running and walking club organized by Beth Corwin, a physical education specialist at the school.

“When I came here, there weren’t any after-school opportunities for the kids,” said Corwin, who is in her thirteenth year at the Symonds School. “There was a need for the students to have an alternative sport to those already offered in the community. We wanted to do something different.” Corwin says the program is all about having fun, participating, and loving physical activity.

Piling into the gym after their class day is done, the students meet with their Big Feet, who are assigned to groups based on speed. After limbering up with a few stretches and calisthenics, everyone heads outside for a running game. After scampering around Wheelock Park for 20 minutes, the ringing of a cowbell summons all runners back to the school.

Both members of a masters swim program at KSC, Corwin and Owl swim coach Jack Fabian came up with the running/walking club while brain-storming to find a way for the Owl athletes to work with the Symonds School students.

“When I presented the program to the swimmers and divers, I thought only a few would be interested,” said Fabian. “To my surprise, 15 athletes immediately volunteered. It’s a great experience for the athletes, to promote wellness and to serve as mentors to the students.”

Corwin said the several aspiring runners have sprouted from the program. “Six kids from Symonds have been running all the way through high school and all of them credit this little after-school program with developing their initial excitement about the sport,” she said.

Courtesy Photo: Students from the Keene’s Symonds Elementary School with KSC Swim and dive team “Big Feet.”

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