May 15, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - Under sunny skies and warm weather, the Miami University women's track and field team hosted the third annual Miami Mile Tuesday, when students from Talawanda's Kramer Elementary School ran from their school to Miami's Millett Hall. The event, which started in 2010, was the idea of head women's track and field/cross country coach Kelly Phillips, who brought the concept to Oxford from Purdue, where she was an assistant coach prior to coming to Miami.
Each student, kindergarten through fifth grade, at Kramer Elementary made the trek from the corner of Locust and Sycamore Streets, where Kramer School is located, down Sycamore Street, onto Weeb Ewbank Drive and into the Millett Hall parking lot. The distance is approximately one mile, giving the youngsters an idea of how long a mile truly is while allowing them to get physical exercise outside. With some students having done it three years now, they can compare their times and see if they improved.
"We just thought it would be something fun for the kids to do and it would get them to see how far a mile is because a lot of kids don't understand that part," Phillips said of creating the event. "It's funny how many kids remembered their time from last year and wanted to beat it or had friends that they wanted to beat. Some kids walk and have fun walking so it's a mixed group but it's exciting to see how into it they get. Some of parents came out and walked with their kids too, which was neat."
Sycamore Street was closed off by the Oxford Police Department while the students ran (or walked or jogged) in three groups. The kindergartners and first-graders led off, followed by second and third-graders, while the fourth and fifth-graders were the final group to run the Miami Mile. Each group was led by a current Miami track athlete as seniors Kelley Miller and Rachael Clay, juniors Jarrod Eick and Layne Baggett and sophomore Erica Howes all helped with the run. Some parents also lined the street to cheer their kid(s) on or ran the mile themselves.
As the students crossed the finish line, a checkered flag waved them home while times were read for them to compare to previous years (5:18 was the fastest time). After refreshing and rehydrating with some water, the kids enjoyed a raffle where the students who had their names called were able to pick from several items of Miami apparel. Each group had their own raffle run by assistant coach Stacey Wannemacher and senior Alexandra Roberts.
Several other coaches helped with the event as well as assistant field hockey coaches Lindsay Markwart and Chip Rogers helped guide the students while head men's track and cross country coach Warren Mandrell and women's assistant coach Brian Etelman also oversaw the event.
Miami Athletics and the Talawanda School District have built a partnership over the last few years to provide opportunities for youth in the community. Examples include women's basketball hosting its annual "Class at the Court" game and baseball holding its first Talawanda Day just last week, as well as several student-athletes volunteering their time throughout the year at the schools.
Photos from the day's event are at the top of the story.