Students participate in Students on the Go!

Benjie Thimangu

Several Parkway North students are participating in “Students on the GO!”, a Saint Louis based fitness program that is designed to prepare high school students to run in either a 10k or half marathon.
“I wanted to do something that could improve my health and get some more exercise,” sophomore Samuel Lisputz said. “Me and my brother both decided to join after hearing about it from my teacher.”
The program, which takes place over 20 weeks, is meant to promote an active lifestyle among students across the St. Louis area. Students train after school throughout the week. Additionally, all of the participating schools meet at Forest Park or Tower Grove Park on Saturdays for a long run.
“I started running and doing half marathons, and then I stumbled upon this program, and I thought it would be a great opportunity,” FACs teacher Becky Samardzic, who leads the program at PNH said. “If it’s ever something you’ve thought about in the future, now would be the right time. They do so much to help get young people involved in running.”
The program culminates in the half marathon or 10k on April 2. The program costs $50. Students who participate receive a free hoodie, entry to the race, and race shoes.
“You get a free pair of shoes, you get the running shirt, and seniors can apply for scholarships,” Samardzic said. “It just builds a strong community at North and with the other schools.”
Running can be very impactful on a person’s physical health and the entire community. According to a study published by the University of Miami, people who run on a regular basis can decrease their risk of heart related deaths, such as cardiac arrest and stroke by 45%.
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for nearly 700,000 deaths according to the CDC. Forming habits of healthy activity such as running as a teenager can be impactful in preventing heart disease as an adult. Additionally, it can reduce obesity rates, which is an increasing issue across the United States.
“When you’re out running, you feel more clear headed,” Lisputz said. “It’s a good time to just have some reflection and think.”
Aside from the physical benefits, running has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits. According to WebMD, running can alleviate stress and can even help recover from anxiety and depression. Regular exercise releases endorphins that can have an impact on mental health.
“You go out and kind of release a lot of negativity,” Samardzic said. “Running is my time alone. I really think it does help with mental health, as well as physical.”
Students on the Go is just one program offered by “GO! St. Louis”. The organization also has a number of other running programs intended to promote healthier lifestyles for all ages. GO! St. Louis is led by president Mona Vespa, who has been a part of the organization since 2008.
As the April race dates become closer, PNH students continue to prepare, along with the other participating schools in the region. The group meets in Samardzic’s room after school. There is still time to join.