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Kids take Final Mile to healthy future

Event: Students from five schools run in program to encourage active lifestyles

Posted: November 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Participants from Mitchell Community School begin the Final Mile Challenge on the South Fork Trail in Valencia on Sunday.

Kids at the starting line of Sunday’s Final Mile Challenge started chanting before they started running.

“We want to run. We want to run,” they screamed.

And run, they did, joining more than a thousand other kids in the north side of the Pavilions supermarket parking lot by the
Santa Clara River, along the South Fork Trail.

The young runners, representing five schools, which in turn represented five school districts, set off on a 1.2-mile course along the bike paths by the river to cap 25 miles they’ve already run prior to showing up Sunday.

“I’m proud that our son is taking being physically fit seriously and he’s worked hard doing it,” said Dee Stephens about her son Ethan, who ran for Old Orchard Elementary School.

There were five teams sporting differently colored T-shirt.

Old Orchard runners, sporting green T-shirts, were the first to leave the starting line shortly after 11:30 a.m.

The Final Mile Challenge gives students the chance to run a full marathon over the course of two months, rather than just one day.

In September, students were given a runners log and asked to fill it.

They were asked to track their miles of exercise at home with parents or at school with teachers. 

Once they logged 25 miles on their own, they were invited to run the final mile of their 26.2 marathon on Sunday.

“The only way they got a T-shirt was to have already run the 25 miles,” said Donna Avila, city arts and events coordinator.

The Final Mile Challenge promotes healthful lifestyles and active living for youth in Santa Clarita. 

As childhood obesity rates continue to climb, city officials are dedicated to doing everything possible to fight the epidemic. 

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 14.9 percent of children in Santa Clarita are obese, compared to 23 percent of children countywide. 

The city of Santa Clarita strives to build a healthy community by providing recreational activities for youth, and inspiring residents of all ages to get out and get active as part of its Healthy Santa Clarita program. 

“We had to log their hours after school or at soccer practice, that was the parents’ responsibility,” said Mia Standley.

She arrived at the Final Mile Challenge with her two participating children — son Kala, 7, and Mahina, 5 — representing Rosedell Elementary School of the Saugus School District.

“We did bike riding, so we counted bike riding for this. So we’re excited about this,” she said, adding that she had just finished running the five-kilometer race.

“I did the 5K this morning in the pouring down rain,” she said. “But we did it and it was fun.”


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