LIHU‘E — For the first time, there will be a male and female middle-school individual champions in cross country, said Kaua‘i High School cross-country runner Emma Burgess.
There will also be team and school awards following the first race for middle-school students at the Puakea Golf Course Friday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.
“The Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation is recognizing this event,” said Burgess, a co-founder of Run Club Kaua‘i with strong support from her parents Keith and Charlene Burgess. “That means that at the Run Club Kaua‘i Middle School Championship race, we will end up with middle-school champions.”
The championship run is just one of three scheduled runs put together for middle-school students by Run Club Kaua‘i. The first race is the Run Club Kaua‘i Middle School Invitational that will take place Nov. 5.
The RCK Middle School Championships will take place on Friday, Nov. 12, starting at 5 p.m. on the Island School campus, and the final race is the RCK Fun Run scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20 starting at 7:30 a.m. At press time, there was no specified location for this event.
Each of the middle-school runs will be approximately 1.5 miles, or a 3-kilometer event when compared with the high-school cross-country event that runs for 3 miles, or 5k.
“This is free,” Burgess said. “We have the sponsors to thank for that. The Run Club Kaua‘i middle-school series is possible because of some generous sponsors from off-island, Ben Ahn, the Spirit of CAN, Beat Athletica, the Kaua‘i Marathon and the Keala Foundation.”
Registration and more-specific runner information can be found online at raceentry.com/race-calendar?zip=96766&distance=10.
“I want to encourage everyone to enjoy the health benefits of running,” Burgess said. “This is give-back time. I realize just how much running did for me when I was a freshman. I want the middle-school students to get an idea of what it feels like, and just how much you gain through distance running. As a 3k event, this is like a preview of high-school running. Eventually, I’d like to see runs for elementary-school students, too.”
Run Club Kaua‘i was started following the shutdown of most sporting events by the pandemic. The club was put together by Burgess, her parents, and a host of community runners, including high-school coaches.
Following training periods that took place at sites from the Eastside to the Westside, the first Run Club Kaua‘i race featured a wide range of runners from those under 10 years of age to masters.
It was during this time that Burgess learned more of the intellectual side of running, using her time to research and bear out the benefits of running, including benefits to cardiovascular systems and positive impacts on mental health.
“I have the momentum now,” Burgess said. “With the knowledge of organization, running and the backing of my cross-country team, I’m doing this Run Club Kaua‘i series of runs for middle-school students as my Senior Project. I’m still a junior, but I have the momentum now.”
Burgess was the top female runner for Kaua‘i High School before COVID-19 shut down the course. She returned to the course when the KIF resumed its cross country races last Saturday, finishing at the top of the 17-runner field on a run of slightly more than 21 minutes.