The Race to 200 – An EXTREMELY Motivating, TEAM Running Challenge

I’m always searching for ways to motivate my students to run. I struck gold several years ago when I first introduced the Race to 200. The premise is simple. How long will it take the entire class to run a combined total of 200 laps?

Although the name of the challenge is the Race to 200, the number 200 is a changing variable.

My First Grade classes were the first to take the challenge. Each class had 20 students and I knew I wanted them to run a quick pace for approximately 3-4 minutes. This meant the students would average 10 laps per person.

20 students X 10 laps per student = 200 laps

Race to 200 1st

What about classes with more or less than 20 students?

It didn’t take long for me to realize there was an easy-to-fix flaw in the formula. What if a student was absent or a class had 21 students rather than 20? Or how could I complete the challenge with my Third Grade double classes consisting of 40 students?

Race to 200 3rd

Each class in the above picture consisted of 38 students.

38 students X 10 laps person = 380 laps

The solution was simple. I posted the following question on the screen:

How long will it take your class to run an average of 10 laps per person?

Therefore, for a class of 19, the challenge would be called the Race to 190. For my Third Grade classes consisting of 40 students, the challenge would be called the Race to 400.

How is the challenge presented?

On the day of the challenge, we begin with a discussion on teamwork. I posed the following questions:

  • What will teamwork look and sound like during the Race to 200?
  • How can you be the best teammate for your team?
  • What variables can slow us down?
  • What happens to the team when we all maximize our effort?
  • How does running etiquette factor into the challenge?
  • Would anyone like to share any words of wisdom?

Following the discussion, students gather at the starting line. They spread out on the baseline to prevent a stampede. I position myself in the corner where they begin the challenge, ready to count laps with my tally counter.


When the class reaches their target number, I stop the clock and record their time. Each class will complete the challenge four times per year, each time with a goal of improving their previous score. I like to post each classes’ times on the wall for added motivation.

Factors to consider when setting a target number for your students:

  • How long do you want your students to run? The challenge looks a little different for my Fifth Grade students. Since I want them to run longer, I increase their target number. Therefore, they might average 12 laps per student rather than 10.
  • How long is a lap in your space? A large gym compared to a small gym will have two different target numbers.
  • What your goal as the instructor? For this challenge, I want my students to maintain a relatively quick pace. You may want your students to run a little longer to increase endurance.

The Race to 200 has been a game-changer for my program. My students look forward to the challenge each time we take it. It has become the ultimate bonding experience for each class.

Be sure to check out another popular running challenge I use with my students called, The 5-Minute Challenge!

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One Comment on “The Race to 200 – An EXTREMELY Motivating, TEAM Running Challenge

  1. I love this. This is taking something and making it incredible with connections and history and just real life. I LOVE It!

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