Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bridgewater Recreation Cross Country Program a Success

This past fall, for the fifth consecutive year, the Bridgewater Recreation Commission offered a fall cross-country running program to town youngsters aged 10-14. This year's cohort of 60 participants represented the highest number in the five years that the program has been conducted. Led by Sam Baumgarten, with the assistance of Kim Puopolo-Larcom, the group met each Saturday morning beginning in September and continuing through the first week of November. The hour long workout consisted of active warm-ups, one to three miles of trail running on Bridgewater State University's Great Hill trail system, and a cool down/stretching period at the end. With the additional supervisory help of parent runners and University students, multiple running groups were formed thus allowing each child to participate at a comfortable level.

The Great Hill trails, developed under the leadership of Tinsley Center Fitness Director Dan Rezendes have been a wonderful resource in introducing children to the joys of running and being outdoors. The combination of developing running skills and fitness while also experiencing the beauties of season change is a powerful experience for all participants. In addition, some of the young runners have taken their skills into the sporting venue and have gone on to compete successfully in cross-country and road racing.

The Commission, with Baumgarten, Larcom and Meghan Boyle taking a leadership role, is considering the resurrection of a spring track and field program which ran successfully for 20 years before being canceled in 2008. The program was dropped in part due to the poor condition of the University track- now of course completely refurbished- and in addition due to the lack of volunteers to provide group leadership and coaching assistance. A newly organized track program would mirror the cross-country program in terms of age group (10-14) or by grade level (5th-8th) and would meet twice per week beginning in early May and continuing through mid-June.

The Commission needs to have additional volunteers before moving ahead with planning. Please call or email the Commission at 508-697-8020 or bcondon@bridgewaterma.org or Baumgarten at 508-531-2313 or sbaumgarten@bridgew.edu if you are interested in volunteering

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