Annual Turkey Trot Gives Wylie Elementary Students Lesson in Fitness

Students in the third and fourth grades participate in a 1-mile fun run in Dexter every November.

Blustery winds and cold temperatures couldn't detour hundreds of students at Wylie Elementary School in Dexter from participating in the school's annual Turkey Trot fun run on Thursday.

Now in it's 36th year, the 1-mile sprint emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and promotes health among students, Walt Keppler, physical education instructor at Wylie said.

"The kids are not competing with anyone but themselves. Some kids take it seriously and want to be the first to cross the finish line. Other students are more relaxed and walk the track at their own pace," Keppler said. "It doesn't matter if you finish first or last. Everyone sets their own pace and finds what works for them."

The Turkey Trot was established by former principal Caroline Sapsford and was held around Thanksgiving. Students who participated each received a turkey to take home, Keppler said. In recent years, however, the event has been held at the end of fall before the winter cold settles in.

"The event just happened to fall on cold days last year and this year. You can pick the date, but you can't pick the weather," Keppler said.

Principal Mary Cooper said every year she is impressed by the students' determination.

"I love the fact that the kids are keeping their bodies healthy, because when their bodies are healthy, their brains are healthy and they are better learners," she said.

Keppler said he often notices fourth grade students who participated in the Turkey Trot in the third grade, push themselves to beat their previous time.

"There's no pressure," he said. "We just ask the kids to try and do their best."


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