Ask the Goat: The birth of the 100 Mile Club

Photo by the 100 Mile Club

Photo by the 100 Mile Club

Kara Lubin began the 100 Mile Club during the 1992-93 school year, her second year as a classroom teacher and special education specialist.

She taught a class for students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. The students were challenged with various learning disabilities and were also EXTREMELY energetic! Some of the students were diagnosed with ADHD, some had behavior disorders, some were uninspired and angry, and some just didn’t want to be at school at all. Kara asked herself, “How would I teach these amazing children? How could I calm, center, inspire, and energize them all at the same time?”

The task was overwhelming. Not knowing what else to do, she started with what she knew best…horses. Kara had been riding horses since she was 8 years old. She understood that to train a high-energy horse, you often begin with a process called lunging. It teaches the horse to calm down and simply pay attention and try to do what you want him to do. In general, it helps them run off excess energy and it helps to develop a good relationship between you and your horse, and to help you work together…That was her A-ha moment. Maybe that could work for kids! It was worth a try.

It was an Olympic year, so the kids were really into the idea of “Olympic Gold.” She asked herself, “If we could help our students run to earn a gold medal of their very own, how cool would that be? What could these kids do? What would be a perfect balance between challenging and attainable?” Running 100 miles seemed to be the answer. The 100 Mile Club was born at that very moment.

The 100 Mile Club spent its first 9 years only in Kara’s classroom with her students. Soon she had 200 kids at her school site running and her home living room became central headquarters! Soon after word spread and in 2006 the 100 Mile Club became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. At the same time, teachers and administrators at other schools became aware of the 100 Mile Club® and began calling and inquiring about implementing the program at their schools. Little by little, schools accepted the challenge of the 100 Mile Club® for the 2007-08 school year.

Ask the Goat by Chris Knodel

Ask the Goat
by Chris Knodel

Today, she and her team serve over 100,000 students in approximately 1,000 schools in all 50 states and 3 countries. All are running, moving, and sharing the philosophies and ideals encouraged through the 100 Mile Club. Kara remains involved in every aspect of her 100 Mile Club and is thrilled when schools, parents, students, and their teachers join up and accept the challenge of even trying to run or walk 100 miles at school. Kara reflects, “Some individuals finish their 100 miles, some go far beyond 100 miles, and some students don’t quite get there. All of these individuals have one thing in common: They all give their personal best during this process, and they learn what their personal best looks (and feels) like.”

Presently, Kara has been awarded the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Award, the Governors Council Gold Medal, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and most recently was selected by the Let’s Move! Campaign, Child Obesity 180, and Tufts University as the most effective, innovative and scalable school-based fitness programs in the country.

— Submitted by Kara Lubin and the 100 MILE CLUB.

Chris Knodel is a Mangum Track Club member and Sandhills Region native. He is the author of “More, Better Quicker – The Irish Goat: A Fat-Boy & His Path to Ultra-Distance.” His column will appear each Thursday on

Filed in: Outdoors, Sports

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