Students from R.M. Miano Elementary were huffing and puffing as they ran 12 laps around the Pacheco High School outdoor track Saturday for the Miano Mileage Club’s annual 5K Fun Run.
But after they crossed the finish line, some students said they fared better than three months ago, when they started to train through the club to run in Saturday’s race.
“It was easier than we started,” said 11-year-old fifth grader Andrew Mendoza, explaining how the club helped him become more competitive and improve his stamina.
The Miano Mileage Club finished its third annual Fun Run Saturday. The club is a group of about 100 students from third through sixth grade who run together from January through April. Their goal is to run the 5K race near the end of the school year and transform themselves in the process.
On Saturday, all the racers’ identification numbers were “1.”
“All the kids are number 1,” said club coordinator and Miano teacher Pat McNally.
McNally said students ran the equivalent of a marathon to build up for the 5K Fun Run. Teachers volunteer their time to help coach the club.
With runners of varying skills in the club, the goal is for students to focus on self-improvement.
“We don’t time the race. We just care that they finish,” McNally said, noting that each student received a medal after the race.
The club helps students in other ways besides encouraging them to exercise.
“It brings my confidence up,” said 11-year-old fifth grader Alexia Heredia, adding that she feels better about herself and others than she did when first entering the club.
Teacher Sergio de Alba said he sees a change in students’ appearance and demeanor after joining the club.
“The feel good about themselves, they get healthier, and I think they grow as individuals,” said de Alba, who also said running with friends and classmates helps build teamwork and skills they may not get if they don’t play sports.
Parents, including 34-year-old Los Banos residents Sergio Reyes and Rodina Zamora, lined the bleachers at the Pacheco football field to cheer their students at each lap.
“It gets them motivated,” Reyes said about his fifth grade daughter, Isabella Reyes and niece, Emily Arellano. “They play sports, so they’re used to it. But this helps them socialize with others.”
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562