Members of the Wall of Dads display their special shades along with shirts printed by Joji Queja of Wetside Inkwork during the last day of Running Club. (photo by Jeannie Corralez)
Wall of Dads Makes Running Fun
Maybe 7:30 a.m. Running Club before school isn’t enough to get up the kids out of bed in the morning, but members of the Wall of Dads at Miramar Ranch Elementary School has figured out a pretty good system.
“For every lap they run, they get a donut hole,” Wall of Dads member Marek Prochazka said. “Sometimes I show up with around 700 donut holes and kids just go crazy.”
The donut holes are not a daily luxury, but the Wall of Dads is always figuring out ways to shake up kids’ mornings. They’re a supportive group of fathers who stand at the end of the finish line handing out tickets to the kids after every lap finished. Some days, they’ll host Indiana Jones-themed runs where the kids have to chase after somebody running with a fake torch.
“We have some super young kids and we tell the older kids, ‘Let them win the lap,’” Prochazka said. “So, we let them go ahead and they run. And then I release the rest of the kids and they try to chase ‘Indiana Jones’ around the track.”
The kids, sometimes totaling as many as 200, meet and run for about 15 minutes every morning. Prochazka said some kids will only go around the track once while others may run as many as six laps. However, fellow Wall of Dads member Mike Giffen said even just bringing his kids to walk their laps has been a good thing.
“Even to me, the kids that aren’t running, at least they’re out there getting fresh air and not fooling around in line,” Giffen said. “It’s a pretty fun, constructive thing.”
Prochazka said the name “Wall of Dads” came about one morning when a mother was running with her child and the dads were passing out their tickets as usual. When she shouted, “Hey, it’s the Wall of Dads,” the name stuck.
“To me, it’s just a great 15 to 20 minutes before school,” Giffen said. “It’s all 100 percent positive for the kids.”