MIAMI (CBS4) — For four months the students at Sunset Park Elementary School have been training for this weekend.
The students are excited, to say the least, as they prepare to head downtown this weekend for the ING marathon.
They will be there not to watch, but to run.
Fifth grader Samantha Ramos explained they had to prepare for months for this.
“We have to train. We have to run the miles through the field. We had to run a lot to get used to what we are going to do at the ING,” Ramos told CBS4’s David Sutta.
Sutta asked her “how much is a lot?” She responded “We run maybe four laps a day.”
Four laps a day adds up.
Collectively each student has run 25 miles. Sunday they will push through the final mile of the marathon downtown.
Blake Malcolm from ING helped motivate the kids Friday at a pep rally near the schools track.
“This year we have all new medals for you guys. Yeah. A whole new design” he told them.
ING has motivated 5,000 students to run the race. It’s all part of a fitness program they rolled out six years ago.
“It not only helps them with the fitness aspect but also gives them the confidence to go into schools and have that confidence to be great in education as well.” Malcolm said.
The students are confident, they actually hope to inspire other runners.
Sunset Park fifth grader Juliana Vereira explained, “When they get to the end they feel down. Tired. And then when they see us with the bright orange shirts they will be like ‘oh my gosh, look at those kids’, and they will be more motivated to finish the marathon,” Vereira said.
One of those runners will be their physical education teacher, Beth Funcia.
“I don’t like to run. No. Absolutely not. I encourage it because I know it’s good for your body, but I don’t like it,” Vereira said.
But after being challenged by a student to run she’s in the half marathon.
Funcia said she believes it is well worth it, especially if the message carries far beyond the finish line.
“We can possibly curve the childhood obesity. It’s taken a downward spiral lately and if we get these kids out here and motivated and enjoying exercise, or enjoying being outdoors and doing things then I think it will take a turn for the better.”
The students should be crossing the finish line between 11 and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
If you would like to cheer them on they will cross right in front of Bayfront Park. For more on the race go click here.