Three days a week from 3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., the students faithfully logged their distance.
"This is our 24th day and it has taken them just over 12 hours total," said Burger. "Not bad at all for our first marathon."
Burger has completed the Chicago Marathon as well as numerous half-marathons and triathlons. When she sought work in the schools, she made her love of running part of the deal.
"When I interviewed here, they asked what I could bring and I said I would bring my love of physical activity," she said. "I had seen an article in Runner's World about doing a marathon gradually, so I have wanted to try it for a while."
Burger, who runs alongside the students, was pleasantly surprised at the way the kids picked up some of the more important skills of the distance runner.
"A child just loves to go run and play, but to teach them to pace themselves is something different," she said. "We would run for a minute and walk for a minute to learn how you pace yourself."
Abundance of motivation
Finding motivation for kids as young as 6 and 7 has not been a problem either.
Lori Brunner said she has never had an issue getting her 7-year-old son, Sam, to go running.
"He's an active little kid, but we weren't sure how the running would turn out," she said. "He is just as excited as he was at the beginning, though. It is something he looks forward to."
Burger said the kids look forward to their "training sessions" so eagerly that they have been bitterly disappointed on the rare occasion the weather does not cooperate.
"We have only missed one day because of inclement weather when it was sleeting outside," she said. "The kids were so mad, they wanted to get out there anyway. It became such a part of their routine."
Although rewards were primarily the satisfaction of finishing what they started, Burger noted that there were some extra incentives along the way.
Papa John's gave the kids a free pizza party at the halfway mark and again after the finish.
Gastroenterology Associates of Central Kentucky donated T-shirts and medals, Ephraim McDowell Wellness Center donated the official running bibs, and Gene Goode of Precision Fitness in Stanford came up with the trophies.
More than anything, though, Burger hopes the kids will learn habits that stay with them for a lifetime.
"Physical activity is so important with the spread of obesity, and those negative habits can really start to take hold at this age," she said. "The running is healthy physically, but it also helps them project self-confidence. I think they prove to themselves and their parents that they have the will to accomplish things."
Principal Rebecca Goode hopes the progressive marathon can become a school tradition.
"I would like to see this rub off on others and that they choose to do this for the rest of their lives," she said. "She loves children and wants to be part of their lives. Our building was named after a secretary who thought about the students in the same way."