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Mega Marathon program running at GIS

9/19/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

Shown above is Mark Croghan, a Green High School graduate and three-time Olympian, talking to Green Intermediate School students about setting goals Sept. 13.
Intermediate School Principal Mark Booth is shown explaining to sixth-grader Alex Casper how to document the marathon in his student planner.
Photos: Joyce Rainey Long
GREEN — Green Intermediate School (GIS) students are taking steps to complete a Mega Marathon this school year by running or walking 26 miles, reading 2,600 pages and doing 26 acts of kindness.

“This is a body, mind and soul challenge, and great things are going to happen,” said Principal Mark Booth to the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at three assemblies held Sept. 13.

The program is a collaboration with the Green Schools Foundation, with prizes to be awarded throughout the year.

“This program just doesn’t look at academics, it looks at the whole child,” said Julie Benear, who teaches fifth-grade social studies.

At the kickoff for the Mega Marathon, Mark Croghan, a 1986 Green High School graduate and three-time steeplechase Olympian, spoke to the students about his running experiences and goal setting.

“You measure yourself by setting goals and improving if you take one step at a time,” said Croghan, 45, an assistant track and field/cross country coach at Kent State University. He is the son of Judy and Dan Croghan, who is a former mayor of Green.

As a middle school athlete, he said he tried football, baseball and basketball, and then track.

“I wasn’t having a lot of fun in baseball, so I tried track and wanted to be a long jumper. My coach wanted volunteers for the mile and I tried it, not knowing how to run,” said Croghan.

At Green High School, Croghan said he won the state championship in the 1600-meter event his junior year and the 3200-meter event his senior year. He also competed while attending The Ohio State University.

“I wasn’t even close to the best in college, and I struggled and was frustrated and considered quitting,” said Croghan, who discovered steeplechase his junior year. Steeplechase is a 3000-meter race with hurdles and a water jump.

“I set individual goals and I tried to be the best I could be,” he said.

He competed in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, with his top showing being fifth place in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. He also competed in World Championships and was ranked fourth in 1993.

“The Olympics never seemed realistic, but the process of setting goals in middle school, high school and college put me in a position to try out,” said Croghan, who lives in Wadsworth with his wife and three sons. “I fell short of my goals but was still able to do some pretty good things.”

At GIS, students are learning how to set goals in all aspects of their lives, said Sarah Sears, sixth-grade language arts teacher.

“The marathon has an academic goal, a physical goal and a character goal,” she said.

Students say they are looking forward to the different parts of the program.

“I love running, so I’m excited to finish that part first,” said sixth-grader Donovan O’Neil, who is on the school’s track team.

He also plans on helping out at his school’s office when he does something kind for others.

“Kindness means simply I’ve done something to make the life of someone else better or easier,” Booth told the students.

All three parts of the marathon must be documented in the school agendas, which are used as day planners by each student.

“I will help out my friends who have trouble with computers,” said sixth-grader Camryn Trizzino.

“I’m going to help out my brother with homework,” added sixth-grader Gwen Miller.

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