Fifth grader completes 1,000th mile running

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press 

More than 500 students run for 10 minutes a day at Taylor Creek Elementary School in Copperas Cove as part of the Marathon Kids running group, but one student in particular clocked her 1,000th mile Monday morning. 
Kelbie Black, a 10-year-old fifth grader at the Lampasas Independent School District school, has been running laps through the school’s running club since she was in third grade. She started her running journey by just running one lap and working her way up to one mile before gradually meeting each goal she set. 
Marathon Kids came to Taylor Creek Elementary School three years ago, when Kelbie was in third grade.  During the first year, it was only open to students in the third, fourth and fifth grade and opened to the rest of the school the next year. This year, Marathon Kids is at all elementary schools in Lampasas ISD. 
The mission of Marathon Kids, founded in 1995 in Austin, Texas, is to show kids that through running, they can “achieve more than they ever dreamed possible,” according to Heidi Gollub, chief marketing officer of Marathon Kids. Marathon Kids is a nationwide program, available in all 50 states, with running clubs formed in schools, camps, after-school programs and within families. 
“Marathon Kids’ vision is all kids active and healthy for a lifetime,” Gollub said. “I know the name can be a little intimidating with marathon in there but really our goal is to show kids that when they move more, they can achieve more.”
The goal for most kids who participate in Marathon Kids is to run the equivalent distance of four marathons, or 104.8 miles. Last year, during the 2017-2018 school year, Kelbie ran the equivalent of more than 21 marathons, or more than 550 miles, Gollub said. 
“Kelbie pretty much embodies the mission of Marathon Kids,” Gollub added. 
Kelbie is the only student in Marathon Kids history who has run 1,000 miles, according to Gollub. 
“She’s amazing,” Gollub said. “It’s actually funny because we have a kid in Austin who had run 17 marathons in one school year, and Kelbie wanted to top that, so that’s why last year she showed her girl power and got out and ran nearly 22 marathons in one school year, and she’s still going.” 
Kelbie said she had never done anything like this before before when she first started three years ago and that she wanted to try something new. 
“It felt really cool to run my 1,000 miles,” Kelbie said. “I love running with my friends because we get to catch up on that day, and I just like to run free with them, not trapped inside a building.”
Her next goal is to try out for the track team when she gets to 7th grade in two years. 
Kelbie’s dad, Kyle Black, teaches P.E. at Taylor Creek and brought Marathon Kids to the campus. He said he thinks that running with Marathon Kids helps build confidence in the students. 
“Because as you run that long and do that much, then they just learn to persevere, they learn to push through, to accomplish goals, small goals leading up to a larger goal, so it helps them in school,” Black said. “They’re more confident in the classroom, and so it’s just been a huge positive boost in the culture of our school.”
Each day, 508 students at Taylor Creek Elementary run laps for 10 minutes and have the option to come run laps before and after school as part of the running club on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 
Black said he thought it was cool milestone that Kelbie ran her 1,000th mile, 
“She didn’t start out wanting a thousand miles, it just kind of happened that ‘Hey, you’re going to be able to do that,’ and so it’s really cool to see her keep going and work for another milestone,” Black said. “As soon as she finished her 1000th mile, she asked ‘Can I go run another lap.’ It just keeps going, so there’s never a point where you’ve accomplished everything. Each mile is one mile further than you’ve ever run before, so they just keep going.”

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