BALDWIN PARK – Red-shirted runners filled the Los Altos High School track on May 5 as students in kindergarten through sixth-grade from Baldwin Park Unified’s Vineland Elementary raced to complete the last stage of a 26.2-mile marathon, as part of Rod Dixon’s Kids Marathon Run Club.

Under the supervision and instruction of Vineland Principal Dr. Laura Rodriguez and resource teacher Marisol Lazaro, more than 37 students volunteered for the running program in October, and since then they have been running in weekly stages to reach the 26.2-mile goal.

After completing their final mile, students were presented with participation medals.

“It’s amazing to exercise with friends,” Vineland sixth-grader Angel Ou said. “Rather than competing with other students, it’s a competition with yourself to do your best.”

Rod Dixon’s Marathon Run Club is an eight- to 10-week running and nutrition program that helps students finish a full marathon by running roughly three miles a week. The program teaches students the value of good nutrition and exercise habits to inspire sustainable, healthy practices for life-long health.

Ken Itahara, Southern California adviser for the program, said that because there is limited funding in physical education, the main focus is to get students active.

Vineland will host its own recognition ceremony on Thursday, May 11 to award the top three students with the most miles completed, and to give out other participation awards. One student closed the event with a total of 46 miles.

“I’ve learned that if I push myself I can achieve my goals and go past any limits,” fourth-grader Adrian Quintana said.

Quintana is involved in other sports, but this was his first time doing a track and field activity.

This is Baldwin Park Unified’s first year participating in the program, with both Vineland and Tracy elementary schools taking part.

“We are very excited to have two of our elementary schools participate in the Rod Dixon Marathon Run Club, and we hope that this will encourage others to join next year,” Superintendent Froilan Mendoza said.

Dixon is an Olympic medalist, two-time World Cross Country Championship medalist and winner of the 1983 New York City Marathon.


BPUSD_RodDixon_1: Vineland Elementary students from kindergarten through sixth grade dash to complete the last mile of a 26.2-mile marathon as part of Rod Dixon’s Kids Marathon Run Club. Since October, students have been running in weekly stages to finish the marathon, and May 5 marked the final mile.

BPUSD_RodDixon_2: Students round the track on May 5 to complete the last mile of a 26.2-mile marathon run in weekly stages since October as part of Rod Dixon’s Kids Marathon Run Club. After the event, students were awarded participation medals. This was the first year schools from Baldwin Park Unified participated in the program.