ROCKINGHAM —The sport of running is often used as a way to lure people young and old into the great outdoors, away from televisions, computers and video games.
On Saturday, athletic activity and technology become one in the inaugural 5K Run for Technology at Hinson Lake in Rockingham. The 3.1-mile, two-loop race begins at 10 a.m. Race-day registration will start at 8:30 a.m. Runners can register for the 5K for $30 on the day of the race.
All proceeds from the event will be used to purchase technology tools — laptops, tablets, SmartBoards, student remotes and more — for students. The event is being coordinated by the Rockingham Middle School running club, formed last year by teachers Michelle Usewicz and Blair Fetner.
The club is unique in that it is the only athletic group at RMS open to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. Aerial Spooner, 12, couldn’t be happier.
“I wanted to be in the running club to get in shape for other sports, since I play basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball,” Aerial said. “I just wasn’t doing that at home. It’s also a social advantage for me because a lot of my friends aren’t in any of my classes and I get to see them here.”
Aerial was one of more than two dozen runners to take part in the club’s opening activities Tuesday afternoon outside on the school campus. Under a sunny sky with a summer-like temperature of nearly 80 degrees, boys and girls took part in a series of dynamic stretches intended to loosen up cold muscles before running one or two miles.
It should be a little cooler on Saturday for runners and walkers with a projected high of 76 degrees.
Seventh-grader Tyler Parker is excited about the race and has long-range plans for his future as an athlete.
“I started in sixth grade,” he said. “I’ve dreamed of going and running in the Olympics. I plan to run track when I get to ninth grade.”
Fetner is thrilled about the race and the spirit of her and Usewicz are proof that a positive attitude goes a long way in making good things happen.
“The club has anywhere between 20 and 40 kids on an average day. It’s a very new thing,” she said. “We tried to do a 5K last year but there wasn’t enough support for it. So far this year we’ve got 70 people signed up.”
Usewicz is impressed by the number of people who registered for the event ahead of race day.
“We and a bunch of our kids went out to businesses and the news spread by word of mouth,” she said. “The people signed up are other kids, their relatives and neighbors. Mark Long, who does information technology for the school system, is part of the Mangum Track Club. He got the club behind it, and that helped.”
Both teachers agree that there are things they will do differently next year in planning the 5K, which in sandwiched this year in between last weekend’s Discovery Place KIDS 5K and the third annual Cordova School 5K on May 24 in Cordova. Editor’s note: Original story updated to reflect new May 24 date instead of original April 12 date.
“We chose the date because it’s warmer outside, the snow is over, and it’s before Spring break,” Fetner said. “Next time we need to put it out there on a calendar, even it’s a long time ahead of time.”
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