Inspired by the 1992 Summer Olympics, special education teacher Kara Lubin used the universal dream of becoming a gold medalist to inspire her hard-to-motivate students. That year, The 100 Mile Club was born from a simple idea, run 100 miles and earn a gold medal. Her students embraced the challenge. Encouraged by family friend, John Wooden and his Pyramid of Success, Lubin developed the program and capitalized on its immediate effects, calmer, more focused and motivated learners. She designed a t-shirt to serve as the students' “incentive chart” which they received after logging 25 miles, and further reinforced the value of their perseverance by bestowing to each student a golden pencil at 50 miles and a wristband at 75. All students received a certificate of completion no matter the miles earned and those who met their 100 mile goal received a beautiful gold medal, awarded at a special year-end medal ceremony. The value of these simple tokens exceeded all expectations and celebrated milestones met of new confidence, poise, increased physical fitness levels and self-esteem for her students.
The 100 Mile Club® quietly evolved over 13 years in Kara’s classroom. Not only did her students consistently score higher on physical fitness tests than their non-disabled peers, they also showed improved attendance and behavior. People began to notice. In 2006, the program went viral. In 2008 she became a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. Soon Kara was faced with the decision of leaving her full time job of teaching to achieve her dream of improving the well-being of children. Currently, The 100 Mile Club® serves over 25,000 students in schools all over California and across the country as well as participants in the workplace, at local senior living communities, residential communities, and shopping center walking programs, too. In California, physical fitness scores in participating schools are consistently higher than the state average for the one-mile run, 84% vs. 65% respectively.
The 100 Mile Club® is a simple, innovative, sustainable answer to the current health crisis in our youth: daily physical activity in a nonthreatening, supportive, inclusive environment. Our concept is simple and easy to implement. We put a new creative spin on the simple act of walking or running by creating an incentive program that adds excitement while teaching children how to become responsible and accountable for their own success.
The 100 Mile Club® creates an even playing field bringing kids together that otherwise would not interact with one another. We create teams within classrooms, within schools, within communities within the country and break down racial and social differences. Schools can serve as the “great equalizer” across economic, racial and social differences. Ideally, they provide a level playing field where kids can learn lifelong habits that will help them be healthy.
The 100 Mile Club® is successfully winning the battle on childhood obesity and inactivity one child, one school, one community at a time.