As 7-year-old Jackson Kuboushek was running his second lap around the Genesis Pediatric Therapy building Wednesday in Bettendorf for the Go Peds Jr. Bix at 6, physical therapist Katie Powers saw the boy’s face getting a bit pink.
Powers asked Jackson if he wanted to walk, to which he replied, “You walk; I’m running.”
Jackson was one of three children in the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs at Genesis Pediatric Therapy to run their version of the Bix at 6. Other runners were children of the staff.
Powers said she had been with Genesis Pediatric Therapy for 13 years and they had held the event in each of those years with the exception of last year, when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of many activities.
“We originally designed this race at our clinic as a kind of a practice run because some of our patients participate in the (Arconic) Jr. Bix,” Powers said.
“At the Jr. Bix there’s a special lane for kids that have disabilities or need extra accommodations," she added, “so it keeps them safe and still allows them to participate in a community event like that.”
However, for those kids who are running the Jr. Bix for the first time the experience can be overwhelming, both for the children and the parents.
“We hold this practice run so the kids can know what to expect on a smaller scale,” Powers said. Each year the number of kids participating varies.
For Jackson, who is in both physical and occupational therapy, the minute he hit the starting line he was ready to go.
“I got this,” he yelled back at his parents, Richelle and Kyle Kuboushek. Richelle Kuboushek said Jackson had never run the race before, but Jackson’s parents watched as his enthusiasm and natural energy took over.
After taking a warm-up jog through the parking lot, the children took a run around the building for their first lap. Jackson finished and was ready to go.
“Let’s do this again,” he called out. So they went back around the building the other way for a second lap. Jackson, like everyone else on a day when the dew points were in the low 70s, worked up a good sweat but was happy.
“He’s a tough little boy, for sure,” Richelle Kuboushek said.