Frosty 5K and Winter Wonder race aims to get kids active

1/22/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

In hopes of getting kids active while raising money for the Victor

Ornelas Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization, third-grade

teacher Sarah Vanek organized the school's first Frosty 5K and Winter

Wonder 1.5-mile race Saturday morning at the school, with parents,

paraprofessionals, teachers, principals and other community members

participating.

"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.

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