Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rotary’s Grand Prix celebrates a booming ten years

2014-06-04

By


Grand Prix award winners surround Amy Leuenberger - president, Rotary Club of Peachtree City, Dr. Joseph C. Barrow, Jr. - Fa

The mark the Rotary Elementary School Grand Prix makes grows bigger and bigger each year. Fayette County Superintendent of Education, Dr. Joseph Barrow, Jr. received a $1 Million check from Rotary Club of Peachtree City president, Amy Leuenberger at last week's luncheon and awards ceremony.  The check represents the proceeds generated over the past decade from the Rotary Elementary School Grand Prix Series. 
"The Rotary Elementary School Grand Prix Series just completed its tenth year of 5K races raising an incredible $1 Million for Fayette County's elementary schools," says George Martin, Rotary Grand Prix Series coordinator. Following the check presentation, awards were presented to the winners of each age group.
The Rotary Elementary School Grand Prix is a series of 15 different 5K runs and walks organized by the Rotary Club of Peachtree City and produced by 15 county schools each year.  The series began in 2004-2005 as a way to help combat childhood obesity and has averaged about $100,000 per year collectively. Rotary and the schools work together to make each race a success. All races are produced and managed by either the school's administration, coaches or PTOs and all money raised stays with the school that raised it.
The Grand Prix races encourage runners and walkers to participate in more than just their own school's race by awarding points to each participant, by age group,  for each race they run. Runners and walkers who do at least four races in the series compete for year-end awards and are recognized at a special awards program each year in May. 
"Many times it is not the fastest people who win the awards, but rather it is the runner or walker who shows up the most," said Rotarian George Martin. 
Over the past decade of races it is estimated that $1 Million has been channeled back into those schools that held a race. The individual schools decide to use their money for projects such as improving technology and computers, media center equipment, purchasing library materials, and even building school tracks where none existed before.  Most schools now have running clubs for the kids and they run before school starts each morning.
The Grand Prix series starts in September with races spread over the entire school year. Runners and walkers are welcome and "it is a great way to get back in shape over a gradual, methodical way," said Martin, while at the same time helping our schools and our kids.  Information is available at each elementary school or on the schools websites.

 

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