Edmonton high school students are challenging their peers to get moving for a good cause.
Students at St. Francis Xavier High School are racing against two other Edmonton Catholic high schools to log 40,000 active kilometres by Friday.
Principal Heather Kaup said the Race Around the World is a fundraiser for individual schools as well as broader community initiatives.
“A year ago today, the very last event we had in the building was our bike-a-thon. We had more than 500 students biking in a gym for 24 hours,” she said. “We can’t do that this year but we still feel incredibly passionate about giving back to the community.”
St. Oscar Romero, Austin O’Brien and St. Francis Xavier High School students will track distances they make walking, running or biking.
“A year after COVID-19 began we are setting a goal to get more active and set a goal,” Kaup said. “We think those two things will help combat the mental health struggles that are going on.”
Elin Holmberg and Julia Debert, both grade 12 students, are part of a team with a goal of 800 kilometres over five days. Each team member will need to walk or ride about 16 kilometres a day.
“I try to do a five km run every day, so this is a pretty big jump but it’s worth it,” Holmberg said. “Especially during these times, it’s nice to know there’s something to do in the community for people in need.”
Debert has been sent home due to a close COVID-19 contact twice. She said the back and forth has affected her physical and mental health.
Kaup said online schooling, close contact isolation periods and COVID-19 protocols has made the student body more sedentary.
“They sit for three hours in a morning and three hours in the afternoon,” she said. “They can go home some weeks with 4,500 steps. Not doing anything. We are going to get moving.”
Money raised will go to the Dreams for Kids Campaign, which provides hot lunches, mental health supports, and emergency supports for students in need in the school district as well as Sign of Hope which provides services and programs for vulnerable Edmontonians.
The race ends on March 19.
You can donate to the fundraiser here.