Andriette Wickstrom, at left, with members of her class. Yes, two of them appear to be "Tebowing."
There's very little space left on the walls inside Andriette Wickstrom's "Running, Reading and Reflecting" classroom during interim at Buena Vista University.
Posters of inspirational figures, legends and current contenders of the sport cover the walls and door, with articles on nutrition, injuries, motivation, races and goals filling in the remaining spaces. Over 300 books and 60 films are available as a resource to students.
It's clear Wickstrom has a passion for running, because she has been competing in races for the past 22 ½ years. With two decades of Boston Marathon competition under her belt, it's only natural that most of her weekends are devoted to races.
Even though Wickstrom is a successful masters contender, she'd rather talk about the people she met during races rather than the place she finished in. Race shirts she has accumulated throughout the years become prizes for students.
At first, Wickstrom felt intimidated to pursue teaching an interim class at BVU. "I was insecure because of all the PhDs there, and all those wonderful people who teach class there."
While out for a run on the deadline day for turning in a proposal for an interim class, the words came to her.
"From there, my proposal was accepted and people signed up. I had to get scrambling, but now I've increased resources and knowledge over the 10 years I've been teaching the class. It's definitely an evolving process."
A quick look at her syllabus reveals events such as the Garbage Grab, Diaper Dash, Hula Relay, Pigskin Pass and Duck Triathlon.
"All the events were designed to promote different aspects of running, and involve people in the sport in a fun way," she explained.
During the Garbage Grab, the class spent 40 minutes running outside and picking up trash, a "community service" component of the class.
Cabbage Patch dolls were batons during the Diaper Dash, hula hoops and costumes made the Hula Relay memorable, "oinking pigs" were carried during a run around the track and thrown through the nostrils of a large cardboard pig during the Pigskin Pass, and rubber ducks were batons during the running and swimming legs of the Duck Triathlon.
Special speakers educated and entertained students, including Fitness Sports' Steve Bobenhouse, podiatrist Paul Coffin, registered dietitian Nancy Clark and a panel of area runners, comprised of Dr. Matt Hanson (an Ironman competitor and assistant professor of exercise science and clinical coordinator of human performance at BVU), John Brostad (a BVU alumnus) and Dr. Brian Lenzmeier (associate professor of biology at BVU).
Daily attendance for the class was outstanding, Wickstrom said. While each had their own favorite speaker or activity, it was clear students also shared Wickstrom's love for running, no matter what skill level.
"It doesn't matter how fast you can run," she said. "The sport attracts all different types of athletes."