The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 1, 2013

Parents cheer for Hoover class running 31 miles in 31 days

By Amanda Dyslin
The Free Press

NORTH MANKATO — Never was there more fanfare for a fifth-grade class running six laps in gym class.

Parents lined the playground sidewalk Wednesday morning holding cameras, cowbells and posters: “Go Madison!” “We’re proud of Mrs. Brudwick!” And applause and cheers rang out just as the sprinkles were turning to a few scattered snowflakes, and Becky Brudwick’s fifth-graders at Hoover Elementary took their marks.

“How many laps?”

“Six!” they shouted.

“Nobody stops till the last runner’s done!” Brudwick reminded the group.

And then they were off.

For the past 31 class days — many of them indoors due to the cold and snowy spring — Brudwick’s class had done this very same exercise, running one mile together. The goal was to run 31 miles in 31 days, inspired from the fact that Brudwick herself is a runner who recently finished a 50K.

“They wanted to do it too,” Brudwick said. “Some of them thought they couldn’t do it.”

Madison Bass was one of those people. Thirty-one miles sounded tough. Too tough.

“But Mrs. Brudwick said I had the strength to do anything,” Bass said.

And that’s exactly what it felt like to cross the finish line Wednesday, she said.

“It felt like I’m queen of the world,” she said. “It felt like I really can do anything.”

A few moments before, Stephen Schwartz and Brady Lucas were the first two to finish. It’s a team challenge; it’s not a competition. But they said it felt good to finish strong.

“Yeah, we were pushing ourselves,” Lucas said.

“We want to get better,” Schwartz said.

Parent Kris Skjeveland, who had a great spot along the sidewalk to cheer her daughter on, said she’s a fan of Brudwick and her idea for the challenge.

“She promotes healthy activities,” Skjeveland said. “It’s great.”