In hopes of getting kids active while raising money for the Victor
"We wanted to get our families involved as much as possible. We've been trying to do a lot of fitness in the school, get our kids active, get our staff active, so we thought a good way to start the year is to have a race and get it going," Vanek said. "We've got a first-grader who's running the 5K, which is awesome, and we went all the way up to 60 and above."
Vanek organized the event by age group, 11 to 14, 15 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 and older, and split each into male and female so that a first- and second-place medal could be awarded to the top male and female runner in each age group.
"And then we're going to try to do the overall, as well," she said.
The 5K was $15 per person and the 1.5-mile walk was $10 per person. Because it is the first year of the race, Vanek said she wasn't sure what to expect in terms of turnout.
"We've never done it before, and the deadline was Friday, and Wednesday, we had about 20 people and it was like, 'Well, you know it'll be good.' By Friday, it bounced up to 60, and we have people registering now, and we're up over 85 I think," she said. "We said come out, walk, run whatever you want to get it done for you, but we wanted to give them the option to do the mile and a half, too. We have a lot of first-time racers out here, which is wonderful."
Erica Cruz, paraprofessional at Victor Ornelas, who was preparing for the 1.5-mile walk, said the whole school is involved in trying to get healthy.
"These are our little munchkins," she said, referring to several kids who were also preparing for their race. "We try to get them involved because we want our numbers of obese kids to go down, so we're trying to be good role models, as well. So I'm kind of glad to see all these little ones, because then they're into it and who do they get in? Their parents."
This was the case for 11-year-old Cippy Garcia and his mother, Elaine Garcia, who works as a secretary at the school. The two participated in the 1.5-mile walk.
"Last week, we got up early in the morning so we could feel what it would be like to run in the cold and everything," Elaine Garcia said.
Cippy, who was dressed in a T-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt underneath, shorts and a headband, was definitely prepared for the cold temperatures Saturday morning.
"I have gloves on with gloves underneath them," he said.
Cippy said that practicing for the event has been fun.
"We live by the old high school, and we would walk all the way down to the bridge by there where the car wash is," he said. "After this walk, it will be nine miles this week."
Elaine said that she used to be a runner, but had to have knee surgery.
"This is a walk and I said, 'I can do that,'" she said.
Another paraprofessional, Eva Heckel, while also preparing for the 1.5-mile walk, said that running goes right along with a district-wide weight loss challenge that began Jan. 11.
"So it's just all this motivation, doing all these other things," Heckel said.
After the start of the 1.5-mile walk, Marlinda Murillo hid behind some bystanders.
"If he doesn't see me, he won't stop," Murillo said, referring to her 7-year-old son, Jesus. "We're hiding from him because he didn't want to at first, and then all of a sudden he decided to."
This prompted some cheers for Jesus, motivating them to switch from walking to running.