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Mini Martian Marathon Club



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February 10, 2010 - Goodrich- Eight-years-old might seem a little young to run a marathon, but Drew Wischman and Amber Villalpando are well on their way.

The Oaktree Elementary third-graders are among 30 members of the new Mini Martian Marathon Running Club, comprised of mostly third through eighth grade students that run laps from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. every Monday at Goodrich High School.

"I feel really worn out after, but I feel good," said Drew.

"I like running because it gives you a lot of exercise." "I thought it would be good for the kids to exercise over the winter," said Amy Posey, a student services teacher who organized the club with Leslie Cicalo.

"It keeps them moving and it's a really fun atmosphere—the kids are laughing and racing each other." Posey has set up a quarter-mile loop through the hallways of Goodrich High School that club members run. For each loop, they are given a rubber band for their wrist to track their mileage. She notes that some get more than four miles in during the weekly meeting and some runners have already topped 13 miles in just three weeks. The goal is to have all runners up to a cumulative 25 miles before the Mini Martian Marathon April 10 at the University of Michigan- Dearborn. There, they will complete their marathon by running in a 1.2 mile event with other students from around Michigan.

"The race organizers are great," said Posey, who has run a marathon herself as well as several half-marathons.

"Once the kids get 10 miles and I send a copy of their log, they will send an inflatable Martian to encourage them to keep going." Amber joined the club to stay in shape. She was already a runner and has taken part in the Crim in Flint, running in the 5K race.

"It makes me feel proud, because I think I could win a race and get a medal," she said. Posey also gives club members additional health challenges every week, such as eating a certain number of fruits and vegetables. This week's challenge was to drink three bottles of water per day. Katie Gray, Drew's mom, has joined her son in the quest to be healthy.

"I walk with him and he's been really excited about the challenges," she said. "It's helping him to be more conscious about his healthy choices. We are also getting more exercise because it's been a cold, gray winter and we don't get outside as much as we'd like." For more information on the running club, call Amy Posey at 810-636-2365.

For details on the Mini Martian Marathon, visit http://www.martianmarathon.com/kids/index.php.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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