Lincoln Haines was one of more than 20 youngsters who took to the Telstar track on Monday despite the less than ideal weather conditions. Photo courtesy of Mary Scanlon.

BETHEL – Heavy rains did not deter the more than 20 children who showed up for the inaugural day of the Bethel Rec youth track and field program on Monday morning. The 1.5-hour program, which runs for the next five weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 8:30 a.m., involves getting kids outside and being active and teaching them some of the fundamentals of l athletics, a Bethel Rec activity Director Mary Scanlon believes she is gaining popularity in many Maine communities.

“I think it’s getting popular between the Olympics and it’s an easily socially distanced activity, Scanlon said.

The program is primarily led by volunteer coach Colleen Raymond, a seasoned runner and coach of the Telstar Middle School track team last spring. She is thrilled with the opportunity.

“I am very happy to be a part of this program. I am happy to share my joy of running with young children. Running is one of the few sports where you don’t need a lot of equipment or other participants, ”Raymond said. “You can run anywhere, in any weather, and that makes you better at whatever other sport you want to play. Hope to make running fun, not a chore like some kids think.

Raymond will have help teaching the children, with local high school students Julia Head, EB Hoff and Myles Lily volunteering to help Raymond.

Children aged 6 to 14 are eligible to participate and encouraged to register, which can be done by visiting bethelmaine.org, clicking first on the community tab, then the hobbies tab where it will display a link to register online. Registration costs $ 10.

Of the 20 kids who showed up for the show on Monday, Scanlon said, except for a few, most had never been on a track before.

Over the next five weeks, Raymond said they would vaguely follow the Pine Tree State summer track and field school plans that many recreation programs use statewide. Children will be able to practice running certain distances (the length will depend on the age of the child), standing long jumps, javelin throws and shot put. However, shots and javelins are replaced with soft bullets and turbojavs (three-foot-long nerf-type rocket with a hard plastic and rubber tip) respectively.

“We will teach them good form, dynamic stretching and how to start and finish a race,” said Raymond.

Raymond also said that depending on the age and interest of the parents, there is an optional regional meeting that the children can attend.

Raymond and Scanlon hope that the youth program eventually turns into a college and high school feeding program.

The last day of the track and field program will be Wednesday July 28.

If people have any questions about the program, they can contact Scanlon at [email protected]

In the spring, more than 180 children participated in the sports offered as part of the recreational program.

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