Schlegel and Plank North staff members are running around the Great Lakes!

28 Mar

Well, not really. They’re talking virtually running, and it’s actually only around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. But still, it’s a pretty big challenge.

The event is being called the “Tour Around the Lakes,” a virtual race designed to promote teamwork and community, while encouraging everyone to get out and exercise and have a little fun.

The idea is based on the many virtual distance races that have been organized during the pandemic. In those, racers would track their daily miles over a period of several weeks in an effort to travel a pre-determined route — like, for example, from Yankee Stadium to Fenway Park or around the Ring of Kerry. For the Tour Around the Lakes, over the next 11 weeks, racers — working in teams of seven or eight — will try to log enough miles by running, walking or cycling to virtually circumnavigate Lakes Ontario and Erie, a distance of 1100 miles. Progress will be updated every week on the Tour Around the Lakes bulletin boards posted at each school.

The race began last Monday and will continue through June 11. Schlegel Rd. Elementary is fielding six teams, and Plank Rd. North has four. The competition was fierce from the start. It started heating up even before the race started when word got out that bonus points were being handed out for the first teams to come up with team names and photos. The schools will not be competing against each other, but only within their buildings … or at least that’s the plan right now. (An inter-school rivalry might be an extra incentive, however.) I expect much trash-talking will ensue.

The team names already show how much fun everyone is having. The Schlegel teams are Sole Sisters, Fueled by Caffeine, Chicks With Kicks, Ready for Anything, Not Fast Just Furious, and Are We There Yet? At Plank North the teams are Green and Bold, Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow, Heart and Sole, and Get Me an Uber.

The Tour Around the Lakes is similar to an event both schools participated in last spring, a virtual relay. For that challenge, everyone who wanted to take part first signed up for a half-hour relay “leg.” Then on one day April, you would run, walk or bike during your appointed time, and “hand off” the virtual baton to the next relay participant via a text or phone call.

It was a great way to keep staff members connected after the schools shut down in March. Everyone had a terrific time and appreciated having an excuse to get outside and get a little exercise. This year’s Tour Around the Lakes should be no different.

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