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Keep On Trucking - Young Club Members Log Marathon Miles
Lap by lap, little by little, the students at Dent Elementary School are logging marathon mileage.

The Marathon Club at the school is going strong, with three opportunities to run each week. The structured club runs are Mondays after school, 2:20 p.m. to 3 p.m., along with Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.

Current club coordinator is teacher Carrie Nash.

"This is our fourth year and Nabby Casteel was the founder of it, I took it over when she left," Nash explained. "We have about 200 kids signed up to do it, they don't all run every time."

Teacher and parent volunteers help out, keeping track of the laps around the track at Dent logged by the students. Nash and fellow teachers Lance Rockwell and Nicole Collins oversee the club together. There are some incentives, as runners are presented with a chain and start accumulating charms for miles completed.

"Kindergarten through second grade, they get their chain after the first three miles and every three miles they get a reward," said Nash.

The third through fifth graders earn a chain after the first five miles and rewards for every five miles after that.

"We give awards every Thursday and we do have some special charms for 50 miles, 60 miles," Nash said.

Also, students get a 'marathon' charm when they complete their first 26.2 miles, the traditional distance for a true marathon.

This month, a pumpkin charm is being offered, with Nash able to sometimes give specially designed charms.

Each year starts a new club, so students don't keep their miles from year to year.

"They can walk, jog, run, we have a few parents and grandparents out there with them sometimes," she said.

Some students run all three days, others do one or two, or just as their schedule allows.

Fourth grader Adriana Lopez had already completed seven laps on the small Dent track on Thursday morning.

"I like the running, some days more than others," she said, adding that she tries to participate both Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"I love it," added her mom Yolanda Marrufo, on hand to watch Adriana circle the track. "She's been doing it for two years and it gives them extra exercise, keeps them busy before school."

The club gets students moving, helping get them ready for their school day by energizing them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the Monday after school session is a good way to let off steam after being back in school following the weekend.

Overall, Nash said, students really seem to enjoy the activity and having the rewards also makes them eager to keep track of how far they've gone.

"They like to earn those charms, earn the rewards and see the total miles add up," Nash said.