Off the Shelf: ‘Reading a Marathon’

This spring, the North Olympic Library System joined forces with the North Olympic Discovery Marathon to form a unique community partnership to encourage youths in Clallam County to read.

This spring, the North Olympic Library System joined forces with the North Olympic Discovery Marathon to form a unique community partnership to encourage youths in Clallam County to read.

Although it sounds like an unlikely pairing, reading and running can be complementary activities. Research shows that exercise can improve a child’s ability to learn, and in turn, read.

Reading can open doors to imagination and concentration, which can give children the ability to stick with an activity like running.

For the past several years, the North Olympic Discovery Marathon has encouraged students at schools and home schools to keep track of their mileage and run a marathon (25 miles, cumulative) in the 6-10 weeks prior to the marathon weekend. They earn tokens along the way and are then invited to run the last 1.2 miles at the Kids Marathon on Saturday, May 31.

Clallam County students who complete all 25 miles and the 1.2-mile fun run event are eligible for the Gene and Norma Turner Achievement Award Scholarship.

Up to the challenge

This year, NOLS and NODM challenged children to read a marathon. NODM created a fabulous bingo sheet full of ideas about places and ways to read; students who complete the activities and read for 20 minutes a day are eligible to receive reading tokens.

Participants who finish the entire reading log can pick up a free book from their local public library (Sequim, Port Angeles, Clallam Bay or Forks branches) or on the day of the Kids Marathon, where library staff will be on hand to give out summer reading information and books to youths who have finished the reading marathon.

The book giveaways were made possible by Friends of the Library groups at each branch.

For more information about the Kids Marathon and a link to the “Reading a Marathon” bingo sheet, visit

Children who want to sign up for the Kids Marathon (1.2 miles) can sign up the day of the race at the Port Angeles City Pier. Library staff will be on hand to give out books and information about summer reading.

Not a child, but interested in running yourself? The library has a wide array of books, magazines, movies, audio books and music CDs to inspire and inform runners and walkers of any age. Check out a copy of Runner’s World, an inspirational movie like “Without Limits” (about the legendary Steve Prefontaine), fiction such as “Running the Rift” by Naomi Benaron or a nonfiction title like “Stretching” by Bob Anderson.

Put on some shoes and hit the Olympic Discovery Trail!

Jennifer Knight is the Youth Services Librarian at the Port Angeles branch of the North Olympic Library System.


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