Sunday, October 3, 2004

Florence kids run in support of PTA

Forget candy sales ... school has new fund-raiser

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

Tony McHugh (left) encourages his neighbor Adam Griesinger, 10, of Florence, to speed up as he approaches the finish of the Mustang Stampede 5K run/walk at Erpenbeck Elementary School.
Photos by PATRICK REDDY/The Enquirer
FLORENCE - Erpenbeck Elementary students aren't selling candy bars or M&Ms for their biggest fund-raiser of the year.

The school PTA has instead turned to a different, healthier option to raise money - running.

The second annual Mustang Stampede was run Saturday behind the school. A 1K Fun Run for elementary students followed.

"We're trying to change the focus from McDonalds and Papa John's night to more fitness-related things," she said. "For better health ... for kids and families."

Kelly Rowe, event coordinator, said the run/walk was "a way to expose kids and family to running" while also dealing with the childhood obesity issue.

"This also was a fun way to earn money," she said. "It's not easy, but we thought it would be worth a try."

Rowe said about $12,000 was raised last year.

"Entrants are mostly from the school, but we're really involving neighborhoods around us," Rowe said. "There's a lot of parent involvement. If they aren't running or walking, they are volunteering."

Publicity chair Kelly Malatesta said the race is growing. Last year 650 people entered the race and this year, about 800 people participated. She said the school looks for more sponsorship each year.

"If we can continue to grow and earn money with this event, we want it to be the sole fund-raiser for school,'' she said.

Erpenbeck parent Jenny Cox of Union brought her two children to the Fun Run.

"I wanted to give my kids running experience ... and let them know it can be fun to exercise and be with their friends."

Kevin Byerly, 46, of Union, who won the race in 18 minutes, 55 seconds, said his reason for coming out was simpler than support for the school.

"I just love to run."


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