DUNANVILLE—For Matthew Garcia, Physical Education Teacher at Smith Elementary School in Duncanville running just got a little more crowded since he decided to launch a running club for students called Marathon Kids.
Twenty three students have signed up so far, but Garcia said the number is increasing.
“Parents are taking notice and wanting their child to be part of something, especially something healthy,” Garcia said.
It’s the first year Marathon Kids has been in the Duncanville ISD and Garcia said “we’re just trying out third and fourth grade for now. The program is designed for any ages and can be carried over into the home as well.”
Garcia decided to launch the program because he said a running club is not only easy to set up, but requires little to no equipment.
“They are inclusive,” he said. “Allowing everyone to move and set individual goals. This fun and exciting program will help kids set and achieve long-term goals, have fun and earn awesome NIKE rewards.” The goal for the running club is to run 104.8 miles, incrementally, over the course of the running club season.
“When you think you’ve gone as far as you can go, you can go a little bit farther,” he said. “Marathon Kids has determined that an average kid can safely and effectively meet the goal of accumulating 104.8 miles, incrementally, over the course of a running club season.”
According to Lari Barager, Director of External Communications, Duncanville Independent School District the long-term goal is to get the students into shape to run four marathons too.
“The goal of Marathon Kids is to run four marathons incrementally over the course of our running club season,” Garcia said. “Incrementally is the key word. Safety is of course the highest priority.”
The students will participate in 5K’s around the community and Garcia said he had a few students participate in the Heart of Duncanville 5K run/walk in October too.
“They are leading the way,” he said. “Many students and teachers are taking interest and are motivated to run/walk with them.”
As for Garcia, the San Antonio born teacher moved to Duncanville in 1990 and attended elementary schools in Duncanville ISD as a child. While not a marathon runner himself, he said he does run three miles every day. “My father suffered a heart attack and I truly believe you can prevent those diseases with daily exercise and healthy food choices,” Garcia added. “It is my passion to teach children exercise and healthy habits and instill a lifelong passion into them.”
Scheduled to run the duration of the school year, Garcia said the running club will meet twice a week for every week to run and track the miles accordingly.
“It’s special for me to teach back home and give back to a community I loved growing up in,” Garcia concluded. “I love teaching P.E. and want to retire a P.E. teacher. This January I will be starting on a M.ED in Kinesiology from Dallas Baptist University in hopes of one day developing my own P.E. curriculum. When I retire from teaching, my dream is to work for The Cooper Institute in Dallas in children’s health and fitness. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to wake up every day and work a job I absolutely love. People remember you by what you did, not what you said. I hope my students remember me by what I did.”
1010 Big Stone Gap | Duncanville, TX 75137 | Phone: 972-708-3000 | Fax: 972-708-3030