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Dundee Middle School midnight run draws 300 kids

Middle schoolers wait their turn run more laps Friday during Dundee Middle School's Midnight Mile Challenge Run where each student

Middle schoolers wait their turn to run more laps Friday during the Dundee Middle School's Midnight Mile Challenge Run where each student signed up to run more than 15 miles over a 24-hour period. The goals of the Midnight Mile are to encourage students to take on a challenge, set goals and follow through on them and encourage healthy habits. May 13, 2011 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 29, 2011 12:37AM

WEST DUNDEE — While some parents claim they can’t get their middle schooler away from video games or off the couch, a few hundred of them proved they can rise to an extreme physical challenge when called.

Despite chilly and damp conditions, Dundee Middle School students jogged into the wee hours at the ninth annual Midnight Mile Challenge Run, saying they loved every minute of it.

Organized by the school’s Physical Education Department, the event featured more than 300 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students participating in a 24-hour relay run.

The middle school grounds turned into a massive campsite on Friday, with a sea of tents housing students and their families.

Twenty-four teams made up of 15 runners each ran the school’s track continuously from 9 a.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Saturday.

The challenge has each participant running one mile, then passing the baton to a teammate. After the last team member finishes, the team starts all over again.

DMS PE teacher Erin Frank said that the all-night run isn’t for charity. It’s strictly a fun fitness challenge that encourages teamwork.

“We always stress that students should push themselves when it comes to fitness,” Frank said.

“One of my favorite things about this is that it you don’t need to be an athlete. Anyone can do it.”

Frequent naps

Pupils began training for the event at school eight weeks ahead of time, turning in workout logs every week. If they missed a week, they weren’t allowed to participate.

The $10 entrance fee just went to cover the event itself, including a Midnight Mile Challenge Run T-shirt issued to runners.

The run — representing more than a third of the school — was originally modeled after one created at Lundahl Middle School in Crystal Lake, Frank said.

Participants run about every one-and-a-half to three hours throughout the event, depending on how fast team members are moving.

It’s not a very long break, but enough to catch a nap intermittently throughout the night.

This was the seventh straight year that West Dundee resident Paul Jorgenson has participated.

Jorgenson has done the run with all of his four children, including this year with his youngest, Emily, a Dundee Middle School eigth-grader.

“We’ve never had perfect weather, but it’s always been good time,”

Paul said. “The kids can go all night, but I need my naps in between runs.”

Emily Jorgenson said she looks forward to the event all year long.

“It is such a fun time hanging out with friends,” she said. “It’s just a happy atmosphere.”

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