‘Let Me Run’ opens doors for Brandon Valley youngsters

Jamie Hult, Staff writer
Let Me Run team members earning their certificates are (front, from left) Evan Lyng, Nolan Swenson, Landyn Lindner, Micah Rothenbuehler, Landen Tommeraasen, Colton Fisher, Braxton Saxer and Zander Uherka-Abels. Jill Meier/BV Journal

Eight Brandon Valley fourth-graders braved freezing temps and blowing snow to complete their first 5K run through a new character-building and fitness program, Let Me Run.
Let Me Run debuted at Brandon Elementary this year thanks to Brandon mom Jennifer Swenson, whose employer, EmBe, supports the national program with tools and curriculum. Brandon Valley School Board member and fellow mom Ellie Saxer served as co-coach.
Over the course of six weeks, the Let Me Run members trained for the Nov. 11 run at Harmadon Park, which drew more than 600 students and coaches from the surrounding Let Me Run and Girls on the Run programs. 
Saxer ran the race alongside her son, Braxton. Despite the inclement weather, “Each Brandon Elementary boy completed with a smile on their face,” she said. “What I learned from the program and the boys was priceless as they inspired me with their determination and commitment to their 5K goal.”
Let Me Run isn’t just about running, she said, but also learning a healthy lifestyle and life lessons, such as goal setting, bullying, attitude, and being a good teammate. Each session ended with the boys writing encouraging notes to a team member, which went into an envelope that they received at the end of the program.  
“The race helped me with like sports that I do and it helped,” offered Nolan Swenson. “Let Me Run was an amazing clinic. I loved it even at first when I said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to do this.’”
Several of the students want to do the program again as fifth-graders, so the coaches are considering expanding the program to Brandon Valley Intermediate School next fall. 
 “The race was fun and challenging with the wind,” added teammate Landyn Tommeraasen. “It was fun seeing my friends run and stuff.”


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