Robert Jensen left his house in Cotuit early Thursday, October 10, for a run, and after facing heavy rain and wind for a marathon distance of 26 miles, his first stop was to visit 4th graders at Mullen-Hall Elementary School in Falmouth.
The 66-year-old’s next destination was Woods Hole on his four-day, 167-mile circuit of Cape Cod’s periphery, which will take him up the Cape Cod Canal and across Route 6A to Provincetown before running back home. He is hoping to complete the run by Columbus Day, October 14.
The money he raises for running will go to support the Calmer Choice program at Mullen-Hall, where he has taught mindfulness techniques to students for the past six years. His wife, Fiona Jensen, is the founder and chief executive officer of Calmer Choice, which will be in 230 classrooms across the region through this school year.
At Mullen-Hall, students held handmade signs of greetings and gratitude for “Mr. Bob.” They then sat in a circle around the runner in the gym, listened to him talk about running in a northeaster, and had a chance to ask questions.
Wearing tights, rain pants, multiple flashing lights and a fluorescent green belt around a huge poncho that covered most of his body (and holding a hot cup of coffee the local French bakery had given him for free), Mr. Jensen said that he had altered his route a bit because of the storm, avoiding as much of Route 28 as possible and using the bike path in Falmouth.
“I am glad to be able to run and raise money to bring Calmer Choice to the schools,” he said of the program, which relies on fundraisers, grants and donations.
Mullen-Hall principal Nancy Ashworth said, “Calmer Choice has helped in so many ways.” As the 4th graders were waiting for Bob to arrive, Ms. Ashworth had them practice Calmer Choice’s “five-finger breathing” exercise and encouraged them to talk about how the program has helped them.
“Children haven’t changed,” Ms. Ashworth said. “Childhood has changed. And Calmer Choice is here to help.”
Since the organization’s founding in 2010, it has provided programming to more than 32,000 students and teachers across the Cape, from Provincetown to Falmouth, and now over the bridge in the Old Rochester school district.
For Calmer Choice, Mr. Jensen usually teaches at Mullen-Hall twice a week—six to eight 20-minute classes each day—during the eight-week program that will begin Tuesday, October 15. This fall he will teach 3rd and 4th graders, and after the winter holidays he will teach 1st and 2nd graders. He also teaches a mindfulness class for adults at the West Barnstable Community Center.