Prairie students chasing dream of outrunning principal

Prairie Elementary students stretching before their run Monday.

Prairie Elementary principal Scott Merfen has a target on his tennis shoes.

More than 100 Prairie students have signed up for the new Prairie Panther Running Club, a training program helping kids prepare for the school’s second annual Prairie Pride 5K Sept. 22. And one of the biggest motivating factors for the kids so far has been a challenge to beat Merfen on race day.

The kids got a taste of the competition Monday when Merfen challenged them to a two lap race around the school’s track. (Younger kids got a head start). Trainers from Front Door Fitness help run the sessions, which feature talks on nutrition as well as running-oriented games.

Organizers say the running club was inspired by first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.