A total of 27,851 miles to be exact. That is how far students at Tzouanakis Intermediate School walked during the Fitness Fanatics program this school year.
With a goal of 25,000 miles to take them around the globe, the Tzouanakis students planned to eclipse last year's record by 3,000 miles. But they almost doubled those efforts.
"It's good competition when you're racing other people around," fifth-grader Isaac Harms said of the 120 miles he logged this year.
"It's just getting exercise and it's good for your body," fourth-grader Zachary Secrest agreed.
A lap around the school's fitness trail is about one-third of a mile, and it is mandatory for all students on recess to make at least one lap around the course.
"They must be moving at recess," Principal Dan TeGrotenhuis said of the program, which is in its fifth year.
Students receive incentives as they pass certain milestones. A sack pack is awarded for those who reach 200 miles, and other prizes include lanyards, water bottles, T-shirts, and small charms that mark 10-mile milestones.
The top walkers in each grade this year were boys, and TeGrotenuis said that is due to those students running the course and racing each other. There are many girl students who have more miles than boys, but not as many who will run all the time.
"But those girls will walk and race, too," he said.
The principal said the program has not only improved student fitness, but also discipline and mental health. Students are less likely to hang around and get into idle trouble, or to fight.
"Attendance is the best its ever been this year," he said. "Our goal is 97 percent, and now we're at 97.1 percent or 97.2 percent in every grade. It's just good for them emotionally, physically and academically."
As the end of each school winds down, the school conducts a final Walk-A-thon event to raise money for a charity. This year, the Hoosier Burn Camp was the designated charity receiving more than $1,400.
Top walkers this year were third-graders Isaiah Long with 210 miles, Jacob Kessler and Anthony Rossok with with 200 miles each. Top fourth grade walkers were Nathan Semak with 210 miles, Brock Eastham with 140 miles and Zachary Secrest with 130 miles. Top fifth-graders were Reggie Alex with 150 miles, and Isaac Harms, Daniel Kreber and Levi Lewis all with 120 miles each.
The school also keeps track of the miles students accumulate through the years. Accumulating the most miles during three years were Kreber with 540 miles, Alex with 450 miles and Brandon Pershing with 370 miles. Fourth-graders with top totals for two years were Semak with 400 miles, Secrest with 350 miles, Carl Basile and Anthony Mitchell with 310 miles each.