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By leaps and bounds: Running group hosts its first 5k
Photos courtesy of Happy Feet Running Club - Started by a group of parents and their children in October, the Happy Feet Running Club in Melissa has grown to roughly 100 runners. The group meets once or twice a week to exercise and has become a fun and healthy way to stay active, both at a competitive or simply social level.
Jackson Scribner and Judson Grier of Melissa have a passion for running that took them all the way to the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships earlier this month in Albuquerque, N.M.
While the two friends credit a good portion of their talent to family members who also share the runner's spirit, they have also become cheerleaders for a group of like-minded students and adults who have helped them achieve their athletic goals over the past several months.
"We're helping other people to succeed at what they want to do with their running skills," said Scribner, 12. "We just asked people around the school [if they wanted to come] and we sent out flyers."
Happy Feet Running Club is a mix of competitive runners and social joggers that was designed to promote exercise, healthy habits, healthy hearts and the joy of running, primarily to children in grades three through six and their families.
The group has grown substantially since it's start in late October, coach Linda Shipes said, growing from about 15 kids on the first meeting to at least 50 runners every week since, with a total number in the club close to 100.
Led by Shipes and three other parents (including Scribner's father, Clint) who wanted to share the joy of running with their own children, Happy Feet meets once or twice a week depending on schedules and spends their time together walking, running and participating in other conditioning exercises that keep the heart pumping.
The coaches, like the children, are avid runners, said Shipes, whose 11-year-old son is a part of the group. Shipes, who has completed numerous races from 5Ks to marathons, said the four coaches make a great team and enjoy doing it all on a strictly voluntary basis.
"When we see new families and kids come out to one of our group runs, that is our payment," she said. "We really feel like our culture today involves too much sitting and video gaming, [so] we want to encourage everyone to get outside and run and enjoy the outdoors."
The Happy Feet Running Club also plans on sending more children to USA Track & Field meets, as well as hosting several events throughout the year to help fund the club. The first of these events will be the Happy Feet 5k Prediction Run in Melissa on Dec. 29. The race will begins at 9 a.m. at Melissa High School, 3150 Cardinal Drive.
Just in time for those wishing to shed a few holiday pounds, the run is a great way to start off the New Year, Shipes said.
"This is a race in which you predict what time you will finish the 5k in," she said. "You can't use any watches, cell phones or iPods while running. The top 10 closest completion time to the predicted time will win a prize."
To register for the race, visit www.runontexas.com/races. For information on the Happy Feet Running Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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