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Dallas Kids Prepare To Run Marathon

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jeff Ray
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Many people can barely walk a mile, much less run one. But a group of students are preparing for the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in Fair Park this weekend. There is a special race just for kids, and a third of the runners all come from one school. The students at L.V. Stockard Middle School in Dallas have been training for the ING Kids Rock, and are excited to finally run in the event.

Over the last few months, seventh-graders and eighth-graders at the school have logged more than 25 miles around the soccer fields. “We have been training since January, so I’m pretty ready for this race,” said seventh-grader Briana Jasso.

For many of the students, this will be a first glimpse into the culture that comes with long-distance running, and all the swag that comes after a race well run. “They gave them Frisbees and water bottles and orange juice drinks,” said physical education teacher Jennifer Marotto, “and the kids were like, ‘This is for us?'”

Last year, more than 200 kids from the middle school ran in the race. This year, that number has jumped up to 363, with all the hoopla being a huge motivator. “That was my reason to begin with,” explained Marotto. “If we have a race, then they’ll want to run in P.E. class. They won’t be like, ‘Oh, this is horrible that the mean coach is making us do at the beginning of gym class.'”

The finish line on Saturday can open a door to a new lifestyle, one that does not revolve around video games and texting, but around an open field. “We really want it to become part of their life,” said Emily Gibbs with ING Kids Rock. “We also provide some nutritional training supplements with the program as well, so the kids can learn to eat the fruits and vegetables for their daily intake.”

The race begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning at Fair Park in Dallas. More than 1,000 kids are expected to run, and anyone can head out to to the race and cheer them on along the path or at the finish line.

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