The Fifth Annual Fast Start Track and Field Invitational, a yearly display of fun and fitness in action, included an estimated 750 children from kindergarten to fifth grade—the largest group yet. The event was held on January 30 at Showalter Field in Winter Park.
Free to all students attending the eight elementary schools in the Winter Park Consortium, the event ran smoothly in spite of skies that threatened rain throughout the day, according to Scott Millson, founder and leader of Fast Start. (Millson also is a newly elected member of the Winter Park Health Foundation’s Children & Youth Work Group.)
There were the usual surprises that can be expected when this many young children gather. For example, one kindergarten girl lost her shoe, but she immediately picked it up and finished the race with shoe in hand! Another kindergarten boy, presented with a balloon before the start of the day’s events, ran with it when he couldn’t find anyone to hold it. Later in the morning, a wheelchair-bound young student, determined to participate, grabbed onto the arms of her wheelchair and let another student push her around the track at a very fast pace.
In spite of the on-again, off-again drizzle, the stands were packed with parents, particularly during opening ceremonies when all of the children marched on to the track at Showalter Field grouped by school.
Millson, who says the Sixth Annual Fast Start Track and Field Invitational is tentatively scheduled for January 29, 2011, said this year’s event was special. “It has been a blessing to watch Fast Start grow from a simple idea into an event with nearly 1000 registrants,” he said.
“We also were able to host the event with our largest number of registrations and still do so efficiently and on time,” Millson added. “The kids all seemed to have a great time and for that we are grateful to all our sponsors, volunteers, and committee chairs.”
WPHF is one of the sponsors of the event and helps spread news of the event through the media. In addition, Healthy School Team leaders are key in promoting and coordinating registration at individual schools.