z pre-run photo opp

Pre-run photo op at the County Park

Today 23 fifth graders from Columbia Middle School competed in the 5k Junior Soul2Sole Run on the Spirit Trail.  The skies were overcast but the mood was sunny as the group assembled at the starting line at the County Park on Ocean Beach Road.  At 8:30 am the group took off, and headed south on Ocean Beach, turned west onto Lakeview East and then entered the Magic Forest portion of the Spirit Trail.

Roy Lamberson, Jen Hittle and Jessica White at the registration site

Roy Lamberson, Jen Hittle and Jessica White at the registration site

These 5th graders didn’t go into the competition unprepared.  Over a six week period, the students and coaches met twice a week to practice track intervals, hill training, and 2-mile road rages from Columbia Middle School to the fire department flagpole in Brooklyn.  Organizer Sheri Bush notes that “we received many beeps and smiles of drivers as we ran the sidewalks of Brooklyn.  It was hard to determine who was more envious–the kids enjoying ice cream at the Village Creamery or the Junior Soul2Sole runners going through their paces.”

zDan Omo - Sheri Bush

Dan Omo and Sheri Bush confer before the event

Race begins

And they’re off!

There were ribbons for the three best times–first, second and third places.  Each participant received a medal and goodie bag.  And the mission of the run is to encourage a lifelong enjoyment of healthy exercise and friendship.  And it appeared to accomplish just that.

These events happen only with lots of planning and work. Sheri Bush points out there were plenty of volunteers to thank.  Here are the names of some of them–Jessica White, Megan Mickels, Dan Omo, Kristy Allen, Jen Hittle and the “Dude Crew”–Roy Lamberson, Dick Lowe, Kelly Kuytna, Bobby Schnell.

Below are many of the participants in the second annual Junior Soul2Sole 5 K Run.