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Why Do Students Run the Mile?

Fatimah Dibas and Madison Schneider

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Have you ever asked yourself why running the mile is required of every student at Santiago High School? Well, we  wondered too and we were determined to figure out WHY. Thinking about running the mile has always put us in a depressed mood. We would dread the day it would come and hope for a catastrophe – crazy? Yes, but can you blame us?

Obviously, we resent participating, but we also decided to find out the other side to this. So we asked our P.E. Coach, John Hamilton, if he could clarify the reasoning behind this event. Mr. Hamilton has been a part of the Santiago staff for thirteen years and has become acquainted with many students.

We started by asking him if there was an alternative option for the mile. He informed us that although some activities could help prepare us for a good performance, none of them could be used to replace the mile.

In order to figure out if the mile was actually helping us, we asked if his past students benefited from the mile. Hamilton stated that his students have never experienced a negative effect as a result of the mile. He also described his most successful experience with a student. This student weighed about 400 pounds in the beginning of the school year and couldn’t walk a lap around the track without taking a break. By the end of the year this student could run the mile in approximately 15 minutes.

We were also able to acquire an outline of the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which states that “ Teachers (are) to design the curriculum for physical education programs.” The California standards require all students to run the mile, and so do National standards. The point of the PFT is to see each state’s students’s levels of fitness. Each P.E. department decides which tests to perfrom and creates a curriculum to meet the goals.

Our last question to Coach Hamilton was if he agreed with students having to participate in the mile. He replied with – “absolutely yes”. We’re sure his class will be running the mile for years to come.

Hamilton was also quick to add that running has many benefits. After learning about these we decided that although the mile takes 10 minutes out of our week, it really isn’t that bad. It’s better to just get it over with.

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Why Do Students Run the Mile?