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Getting a Leg up on Health W&L women track athletes teamed up with Rockbridge Area Community Services for RunJumpThrow, a national program that teaches kids about physical activity.

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Members of the Washington and Lee women’s track team joined local schoolchildren on March 3 to run, jump and throw their way through a fun-filled Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field on the W&L campus.

Part of a national program created by USA Track & Field and Hershey, RunJumpThrow paired W&L student volunteers with local kids for a variety of exercises. The purpose of the event was to introduce children to track and field, not only as a healthy individual activity but as a team sport. Rockbridge Area Community Services (RACS) brought the program to Rockbridge County with its Live Healthy Rockbridge Kids coalition, and with funding from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.

Washington and Lee women’s track athletes, including Bailey Sanders ’19 and Katie Bearup ’20, helped to organized W&L’s participation through their membership in the Generals Leadership Academy. The program provides underclassmen with skills necessary to be leaders on their athletic teams, as well as within the university community. It was created in 2002 by the Athletic Department and Scott Fechnay ’69, and was fully endowed by Scott and his wife, Peggy Ann Eacho Fechnay. RunJumpThrow also served as the women’s track team’s required annual community service project.

“It was awesome for us to help those kids see what track and field is really like, and to introduce them to it at a young age,” Sanders said. “That was really rewarding for us.”

On the afternoon of the event, the majority of the women’s track team met with 40 students from Central Elementary, Natural Bridge Elementary, Waddell Elementary, Fairfield Elementary and Maury River Middle School. They started out with a dynamic warm-up, then cycled in small groups through various activity stations. Over the course of the afternoon, they learned the benefits and proper form for running, long jump, hurdle jumping, ball throwing, starts, and baton hand-offs. The event wrapped up with some friendly competition, then all of the children received a string backpack, a medal and a water bottle.

“It went really well,” Sanders said. “It was a little chilly and windy but that didn’t seem to bother the kids. I think they had a good time.”