Marathon High after school program starts off 3rd year with students

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Jazmine Smith

Zane Trevino and Ryanne Howard, two members of Marathon High, run practice loops around the school track. This will be Trevino’s second year as a member and this is Howard’s first.

Daisy Horr, Staff Writer

Ann Richards middle school and high school students have spent the last couple weeks running in after school program, Marathon High, to train for the upcoming 2015 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon.

For the 3rd year in a row, students partake in this free program sponsored by TeamROUGE to train for five months under expert coaches for the chance to run in the Austin Marathon taking place  February 15th, 2015.

“We start really slow,” said Sarah Pease, a 2012 Olympic Trials finalist and high school Marathon High coach. “In October we’ll start long runs, we just progressively do a little bit more. Right now we’re doing a workout once a week, a really light workout, and then we’ll do a race at the end of October. We’ll do a race each month and it’ll be longer and longer to prepare the kids for the marathon, and then we’ll always do long runs on Saturdays to help them get used to the longer distances.”

Starting up the program in 2012 with only two schools, Ann Richards and Eastside Memorial, Marathon High has now expanded up to ten schools this year, coming together at Rouge Running during the Saturday morning “long runs”. “They all run together so you get to meet new kids, mingle with other coaches, everything, and kind of see what the rouge community is like,” said Pease. “It’s really cool to see the kids, the adults and the community interact and kind of mesh.”

“I did it in 6th grade,” said Victoria Baltierra, 8th grade Ann Richards student. “Once I joined I was really glad that I did because you sort of build a community together and you make a lot of friends…they made it fun in many ways because you got to play games and not just run the same loop over and over again.”

After these months of training, including lessons on running posture and techniques, Baltierra says she hopes to beat her mile time. She shares this goal with another student, Susette Abad-Cruz, Ann Richards high school senior, who has returned for her final year after being with the Marathon High program from the very beginning.

“I hope to run my fastest marathon this year,” said Abad-Cruz. “It’s a way to channel out my stress. If I’m having a bad day, I can turn to running.”

Part of the mission of Marathon High, along with promoting an active lifestyle and involvement with ones community, is to show students that they can achieve anything they commit to.

“A marathon is a pretty hefty goal, not many kids or even adults complete one,” Pease, said. “To say you finished a marathon is a huge accomplishment and so I think it really means a lot to the kids.”

These collective participants of Marathon High, both brand new to the program and returning members, have just completed their 1st month of training and will be participating in the Run for the Water 5K race October 26, 2014.

“It’s pretty exhilarating actually, it’s addicting,” said Abad-Cruz about the experience of running. “Once you cross the finish line, that feeling. You just want to live it again.”