Bruce Hartley, Cooper Elementary School principal, had a special message for students as they finished eating their lunches.
Today would not be a normal after-lunch break.
"During recess today," he said, "we're going to take a little walk."
Sheri Morud and her son, Max, a second-grader at Cooper Elementary School, lead the pack around the block Wednesday morning.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tammy Nguyen, right, and her son, Cooper Elementary School kindergartner Maxwell, prepare to head out for a walk around the block Wednesday morning during the Start Somewhere Walk.
-Messenger photos by Hans Madsen
Cooper Elementary second- and third-graders make their way around the block during the schoo’ls Start Somewhere Walk.
The twice-around-the-block trek was Cooper's event for the annual Start Somewhere Walk, part of Gov. Terry Branstad's Healthiest State Initiative.
Sheri Morud and her son, Max Morud, a second-grader at the school, led the first group of students on their walk.
The pair went hand in hand.
Morud said she enjoyed the time with her son - a feeling that was mutual. Max said his favorite part of the event was his mom being there.
Morud admits that perhaps they need a bit more exercise, but like many finds it difficult to get going.
"As an adult," she said, "it's finding time."
"We have to make it a priority," she said.
Hartley shares some of that belief.
"I think we could all use a little more exercise," he said. "Physical activity is good for everyone."
"Our added technology encourages kids to sit in front of the computer or TV," he said.
Tammy Nguyen walked with her son, Maxwell, and his kindergarten classmates.
She might have been the participant least likely to break a sweat because, she said, that as a family they walk, bike and have their children enrolled in gymnastics and martial arts.
"It should be a family thing," she said. "If parents are active then the children are active."
Of course, the Start Somewhere event held the promise of a special treat.
"I might get a hug and kiss out of it," she said.
Hartley said that just during the first lunch shift, 25 parents and other adults joined the walk with their students - more than 100 of them.
He got to walk along on all three shifts, and didn't mind at all.
"I try to get everyone to take part," he said. "That's why I went and put on my tennis shoes."
Duncombe and Butler elementarys also held Start Somewhere walks Wednesday. Feelhaver Elementary and Riverside Early Learning Center will hold theirs on Friday.