SES marathoners run like the wind

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SNOQUALMIE — Mile by mile, students from Snoqualmie

Elementary accomplished a feat that not many people can boast — finishing a

26.2-mile marathon.

Nineteen students committed to the endeavor, but only 14 were able

to cross the finish line at Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 28. The

kids' race was part of the larger Seattle Marathon which drew more

than 8,000 participants. The youngsters were provided the same amenities

as the adults, with official race numbers, T-shirts, a start and finish line and

a recovery area.

But instead of completing the course in several hours, most of

the mini racers finished in less than 15 minutes. That's because the

students ran 25 miles on their own time and finished the last 1.2 miles at the

Seattle Kids Marathon.

"It was an awesome sight," said Jim McEldowney, the physical

education teacher who coordinated the school's entry into the race. "I

was happy with the numbers. Fourteen [entrants] was more than what

they would've done on their own," he added.

Third-grade students Cheyenne Fredrichs and Molly Acey

were among the students who said they were relieved when they

finally reached their goal.

"When we saw the finish line we said, `Yeah! The faster we run,

we'll get there sooner!'" Acey recalled.

Both girls were determined to finish in style so they studied up on

marathon strategies and got some last-minute advice from Acey's

personal trainer.

"Her mom said to go really slow at the beginning and then speed up

at the end," Fredrichs said. "And that's what I did."

"We had to go slow at the beginning," Acey explained. "Because

the grown-ups were going slow."

Every mile that Fredrichs and Acey completed was carefully

recorded on a graph in the school's gymnasium. Acey earned several miles

at each of her soccer practices and games and Fredrichs gained her mileage

from walking her dog Murphy.

Though both girls are "pooped out" from running now, they said

they plan to continue exercising into the new millennium for their health

and entertainment.

"I feel a lot healthier and a lot stronger in the legs and I have

more flexibility," Acey said.

"It was very tiring, but it's real fun."

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