On Track for Summer Fun

Grace Allen
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Looking for a way to keep the kids moving this summer? Or maybe you miss the camaraderie from your high school days on the track team? If so, head over to the King Philip High School track on Wednesday nights. The annual Summer Track & Field Series kicks off on July 11 and offers running and field events for all ages.
The program, which has been in existence since 1994, is offered by Wrentham Recreation in conjunction with the KP track and field program. Each week, the KP high school coaches and athletes help run the races and field events, which begin at 6 p.m.
According to Scott Kramer, KP track head coach, the program was designed as a way to introduce children and youth to the sport of track and field.
“We saw how other sports like baseball and basketball had youth programs in town, and the kids would have experience before they got to the high school,” said Kramer. “But for many kids, the first time they were exposed to track was when they joined the team in high school.”
Participants can try running the 50-yard “Diaper Dash” (ages 5 and under), 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1 mile, and the 4 x 100 relay.
The night is designed to be fun for the younger participants, as well as teach older children the mechanics of the field events.
The high school athletes will demonstrate the hurdles, long jump, shot put, and javelin, and then participants can try them. The program uses a “turbo” javelin, which is a type of Nerf javelin, made of plastic with a soft tip. There will also be a high jump exhibition on certain nights, and kids ages 10 and older can give that event a try, too.
The athletes will demonstrate how to warm-up correctly before a race, and then the night starts with the Diaper Dash.
“The parents usually have to help out with their kids, and it ends up being a crazy mad dash in all directions,” said Kramer.
Coach Kramer says the program attracts close to 40 competitors each night, plus friends and family who come to watch and take photos. Many KP track alumni come and bring their children.
The coach says current and former high school and college runners are especially encouraged to come by and participate in the races.
“We have had very competitive meets in the past,” he said. “Scott Brown was one of our regulars in the early years, and he would regularly run under 5 minutes in the mile event. We would love for more experienced runners to come by and give it a try.”
In 2009, a KP runner was disqualified from the New England Championship Track Meet for a false start. Three of his competitors in that race traveled to King Philip to re-race the boy during one of the summer track meet nights.
“We had a race that ended up being faster than the one at the actual New England meet,” recounted Kramer. “It was amazing to watch.”
The coach says the program has helped expose kids to running and field events, and every school year a couple of kids come out for track because of their experience at the summer track series. Running, said the coach, is a great way to stay in shape for other sports.
“One of the things we try to emphasize is that you don’t have to give up other sports to do track. You can pay soccer in the fall or basketball in the winter and still run spring track. Or indoor track is a great way to get prepared for lacrosse or softball.”
The Summer Track Series will run on Wednesday nights from July 11 through August 8 at 6 p.m., with registration starting at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per night or $20 for the summer. There will be free t-shirts for anyone competing in at least 4 of the meets, and all participants will get medals on the last night. Residents of all towns are welcome.
For more information, email [email protected].