When Peter Breit, track and cross-country coach at Urbana High School, saw a UHS parent out running last spring, it gave him an idea of how he might get to know some of the families better and let them get to know him.
He’s established Family Fun Run Night this summer. Breit has a weekly run at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays for his cross-country runners at Meadowbrook Park. He’s invited their families — and any student or family member in the Urbana school district — to join the runs.
“I thought it would be kind of fun to get my family out as well as their families, socialize together, and meet athletes from the younger grades who might be interested in running cross country when they get to high school,” Breit said.
The runs were to begin June 21, but Breit was rained out that night. The first run, on June 28, drew only about 10 people who ran or walked, then enjoyed lemonade and cookies.
Breit is hoping that number will grow. He’s invited Urbana Middle School track and cross-country coach Todd Searing to bring his runners too.
The training runs are voluntary for the athletes — their official season doesn’t begin until August — but some are already training.
Breit was motivated not only by the desire to improve the fitness of his runners and get younger students interested in cross-country. He also wanted “just to get the community out and doing something that doesn’t involve watching TV or playing video games.
“It’s a laid-back atmosphere, just getting out and being active,” he said.
The fun runs continue through July 19.