The No. 1-ranked elementary school in South Florida, Henry S. West Laboratory School, located on Carrillo Avenue in Coral Gables, is known for being a pioneer in education.
From its roots at the University of Miami to becoming one of the first schools to issue a no-homework policy, West Lab is small but mighty and not afraid to chart its own course. The school’s forward-thinking attitude on homework has left its students with more time to develop outside interests including orchestra, robotics and, of course, running.
Running has become the official school sport at West Lab thanks to the I’mPossible Run Club, an after-school program teaching empowerment principles through the exercise of running. Students participate in classes on the school’s campus and also compete in offsite races around the area.
With nearly one third of the school participating in Run Club, the West Lab PTO has turned the student’s passion for running into an enrichment project for the school. In 2017, they created the I’mPossible 123 Race, a unique racing concept that consists of a one mile loop, mostly on grass, where participants choose the distance they prefer to compete in — 1, 2 or 3.1 miles. One hundred percent of the proceeds collected go directly to the school.
“What I think is most unique about our race is that there is a distance for everyone,” said Cristina Ramirez, founder of the I’mPossible Run Club. “We worked with our timing company so that runners could choose the race that best suits them and we are able to recognize children in age-appropriate groupings. Our youngest category is 4 and under, while our oldest is 80 and over. Last year, we had winners in both.”
Last year, the I’mPossible 123 Race was sold out, with over 300 participating runners and walkers. This year, West Lab is hoping to increase registrations to 500, as the race is open to the public to participate.
“This is a timed race, with everything you expect from a run event,” said Daisy Holcombe, a West Lab parent and event producer. “It feels like a cross-country event with a challenging run between the trees and fields of our campus — something that the running community rarely sees here in Miami.”
The second annual I’mPossible 123 Race will be run on Feb. 3, 2018 at 8 a.m. Registrations are open at www.ImRunClub.com/123Race.