Timnath Elementary fun runners navigate 2-mile course

A bright, sunny morning at Timnath Reservoir greeted Timnath Elementary School students, families and friends who gathered on April 25 for a Fun Run & Walk. The event was a more inclusive version of last year’s Timnath Trot, a physical fitness activity for students held in the school’s back field during school hours.

As of the night before the run/walk, 155 entries had been received and more people registered on race morning. The start/finish line welcomed runners and walkers to a just under 2-mile course that wound along the dam. Participants ranged from students and siblings to parents and extended family members, some pushing strollers. Although paces ranged from fast and intense to slow and casual, “tortoise and hare” famished finishers promptly headed to a scrumptious pancake breakfast, compliments of the Fort Collins Lions Club.

Bill Funke, a Fort Collins Lion since 1985, shared a bit of the club’s history as he awaited the hungry crowd. He recalled that the pancake breakfast event began in 1996 with a borrowed grill from the Milliken Lions. Ever since, the Fort Collins group has set up at numerous fundraisers, including a 9Health Fair and Loveland Bingo session, both held the day before the Fun Run/Walk. In fact, the club’s tight schedule might have forced it to sadly decline had not PTO members and event planners Sara Duffert and Joy Murphy agreed to provide volunteers to assist at the Timnath Elementary event.

University of Colorado Health’s “Healthy Kids Club” donated commemorative T-shirts and $2,000 to Timnath Elementary’s Wellness Committee, which pays for the school’s running club and other healthy lifestyle activities. The logo on the shirts logo was designed by Timnath Elementary students.

Principal Lori Sander was pleased with event participation. “This is great fun, with a very good turnout. It’s great to see families, especially dads and siblings. A lot of our staff is here, too.”

As batter and sausages sizzled on the grill, and oranges, bananas, granola bars, juice and coffee quietly waited, Ryan Martine led the way along the course. Martine, dressed in a superhero cape, is a math teacher at Preston Junior High; his wife, Melissa, teaches fourth grade at Timnath Elementary School.

And, down the stretch they came!

Yes, it was a fun run/walk, but determined kids nevertheless poured it on as the finish line loomed. Marcus Croft, 8, shot out in front of pacesetter Martine to claim victory. The third grader, who said he’s been in track for two years, crossed first amid cheers from the large crowd. His official time was just over 13 minutes.

Shortly thereafter, Wyatt Creed, thundered in. After advising that he and Croft are classmates, Creed shook a jubilant fist in the air and delightedly shouted, “Mrs. Green’s class rocks!”

Third place went to Charlie Jen Malone, another of Mrs. Green’s speedy students. When asked if she, like Croft, had prior track experience, Malone replied, “No, I just like to run!”

Although there were no prizes for fastest finishers (again, just for fun), every pre-registered student’s name went into a drawing for 23 donated items. Among the lucky winners were fifth grader Tyler DiPietro, who won a kids’ mountain bike donated by Walmart, and Zoe Dennis, who received a Razor scooter. Swag bags were also handed out.

The entire event went off without a hitch: no inclement weather, no injuries, no unhappy kids, no rush to leave. Several hundred happy race participants and supporters leisurely chatted as they downed the Lions Club’s delicious fare. It was truly an awesome inaugural for what many people said they hoped will become an annual event.

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