“I think it is a confidence builder,” said Mike Flower, CVHS teacher and SRLA coach. “It also builds self esteem and [the students] learn goal setting.”
For eight months Flowers, along with fellow teachers Charlotte Greenway, James Mackey and head coach Elizabeth Mularz, got up early on the weekends and stayed after school on weekdays to shepherd their student runners to the marathon finish line.
Training was longer this year because the marathon date changed from early March to May 25.
Mularz said she thought the extra training time may have helped lessen injuries.
“But we did have some students drop out because they were already committed to other sports,” she said.
Flowers said the group had longer runs later in the season and earlier training hovered around the half marathon range.
“We added hikes to vary our training,” he said.
The weather was another concern for the runners, but the day was surprisingly cool and overcast. The students ran their race, crossed the finish line and received their much deserved medals.
“They are just so proud when they cross that finish line,” said Mularz. “Proud and relieved.”
That relieved feeling was not reserved for students. Doug Laing, a Valley View Elementary School teacher, finished his second marathon last Monday, thankful for the encouragement from his students and family.
Laing decided this year to keep his students updated on his training. They could even track him from their computer as he ran mile after mile after mile.
“They seemed really excited about it,” Laing said.
Some students went to L.A. to cheer him on.
“I thought it was amazing,” said fourth-grader Jaid Wilcox. “It is so hard to run 26.2 miles.”
“I definitely knew he was going to make it,” added Darius Farid, another student. “He was training and doing good. He didn’t talk much about his pain.”
Student Mako Milanian’s dad had run nine marathons so he knew a little about how hard his teacher would have to train.
“It was really important that we were there to support him,” he said “He spends so much time teaching us. He even taught us things we didn’t know last year.”
All three said the same thing about their teachers accomplishment: “We are so proud of him.”