By Brandon HENSLEY
he roads around Elysian Park were tight and narrow, but runners from 29 Southland middle schools made the best of their day in the LA84 Foundation’s Run4Fun on Dec. 12. Rosemont Middle School was represented with 22 students, who competed in the 1.2-mile race which curved around Dodger Stadium.
The Spartan eighth grade boys’ and girls’ teams took home first place for both divisions. The top finishers on the boys’ team were Kiattiphun Chanthorn, Otto Herman, Nicolas Schleup, Trenton Tadaki and Jacob Thomas. The girls’ top finishers were Sophia Atin, Lilyana Geck, Nathalie Lai, Samantha Moore and Laine Stubbs.
Thomas also took fourth overall for the boys, while Nathalie Lai came in first place for the girls.
“It’s a beautiful spot. It had great views,” said Rosemont coach Chris Davis. “But some of the areas were very narrow; that created some narrow turns for the kids. No one got hurt. It was just a little bit tight.”
The LA84 Foundation is an organization run with surplus funds from the 1984 Olympic Games. On its website, it states its mission is “to serve youth through sport and to increase knowledge of sport and its impact on people’s lives.” The Run4Fun is an annual race in L.A. designed to teach middle school athletes about long distance running. After the race, runners were each given a T-shirt, and the top finishers received a medal.
Regardless of the terrain, Davis said he was happy with the outcome and how much work the students put in to get to that point. Training started in September, with practices taking place two days a week for 90 minutes each day.
Davis, who was helped by assistant coaches/parents Wilfried Geck, Jeff Moore and Carolyn Sion, held practices at Rosemont Middle School and Two Strike Park. They worked on speed intervals, proper stretching and also stride techniques. Davis said running up and down hills requires different ways to move your body.
“The kids were great. Most kids have a lot of energy, some love to run, some less so, but they all saw improvement over the three months. Many are excited to run on their own,” Davis said.
Every now and then, the coaches would give them a break from the monotony and they’d play Capture the Flag.
Earlier this year, Rosemont was looking for running coaches, Davis, who ran in high school at John Burroughs, answered the call. Davis will also coach the kids in the spring for the Glendale Unified District’s track meet. He said he’s enjoying volunteering so far and is looking forward to the coming months.
“I think sports for kids are a great thing, especially sports that aren’t so tense and hyper competitive and too time consuming,” he said. “Anyone can run. It’s a great experience for everyone. They can feel part of something bigger.”