Get Up & Go!

Healthy Kids Running Series reflects on overall success of five-week event after wrapping on Mother's Day

CLIFTON – With the slogan “Get up and Go!” area youth got up and went, giving their all in the Healthy Kids Running Series at the Clifton Park athletic complex.

Held on five consecutive Sundays from April 11-May 9, the series organized by Renee Kettler was designed to stimulate youth to run as a form of exercise and to learn to enjoy the activity. Besides the usual enthusiastic and empathetic support of family and friends, the finale on Mother’s Day brought medals, trophies and flowers to the event.

The HKRS helps youth learn how to run and to learn to love the physical activity, developing friendships, and the competitive element - if only to better their own personal times each run; and to never quit. One of the program’s slogans is “Run when you can. Walk if you have to. Crawl if you must. Just never give up.”

“I could see a difference in so many kids this week,” Kettler said after the first week. “I overheard some talk of how they practiced, of being mentally prepared. It shows.”

As she awarded the medals, Kettler looked each child in the eye and made sure they knew how proud she was of their achievements.

“Learning to run – love it or hate it – it’s not giving up,” Kettler said. “That’s what it’s all about; about getting better.”

With each race in the series, the natural born runners kept improving their personal records with seconds, others shaved off 2-3 minutes each time they ran. And through the fatigue and sometimes some physical discomfort, the youth’s faces at the finish line showed a sense of accomplishment.

Besides the category trophies, there was a Healthy Kid Award. Waylon Tebo received the special award, as he exemplified the positive attitude and personal improvement that are the founding principles of the HKRS.

He might not be the fastest runner, but during the week Waylon practiced with his mother anxious to improve. And improve he did. And he never quit. His great accomplishment was to finish the last race without his mother egging him on, and only walking a short while in the race. He did good. He did himself and his family proud.

Another example of positive attitude came from Lily Fryar. Even though she never came in first or second in a race, she never quit either, and she worked as hard as everybody else to get to that finish line. On top of that, in her older brother Isaac’s race, Lily ran alongside him as encouragement and support. Maybe thanks to that, Isaac ran his best time yet.

Pedro and Michelle Beltran came from Waco, to introduce their daughters – three-year-old Sophia and five-year-old Nevea – to competitive running. Pedro had entered running events in Clifton in the past and heard about the youth series through his runners’ network. The fun family event brought families from other surrounding towns like Gatesville and West.

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