Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 | 11:30 p.m.
Getting elementary school children excited about exercise is not always easy.
With television, video games and the Internet commanding attention, physical education teacher Sara Trone feels that more children seem to prefer the indoors.
Trone has been helping to combat the problem at James Gibson Elementary School by organizing the school's Jogging and Walking Society.
For the last two school years, Trone has promoted exercise through the society's daily walking and jogging routine.
The school had 50 students enter the Las Vegas Kids Marathon last month as part of the society's goal to have children accumulate a marathon-length 26.2 miles before the new year.
"Most kids don't get out like they should," Trone said. "The Las Vegas Marathon is a fun event that adds some excitement to it all. Seeing all of the big time runners gives them some motivation."
Students who join the society jog or walk laps around the school before class four mornings a week. Trone keeps tabs on how many miles each student goes, giving special wristbands to represent the number of miles.
The children in the program gathered by the end of the official marathon course and ran the final 1.2 miles in front of family and fans.
"I do take a lot of pride in our program being so successful," Trone said. "We have some great parent involvement. That they are able to get up so early and drop them off here is great. Some even do it with the kids. That is one of the best parts about it."
Third grader Devon Webster finished the final 1.2 miles in 6 minutes, 54 seconds, which was the fastest of any girl.
"It was kind of tough because it was really long," she said. "I just tried to do my best and I really liked it."
The success at the marathon inspired the running bug inside Devon. The program also inspired her mother, Rhonda Webster, to do the daily walks with her daughter.
"It's one simple way I can get some exercise," Rhonda Webster said. "I try to go every day its offered to get my laps in.."
The society has continued its weekday meetings and has grown in popularity with students and parents, Trone said.
As of winter break, second grader David Reiner had the most accumulated miles with 110. Third grader Kyle Bowler and his older brother Mark Bowler aren't far behind with 100 miles apiece.
Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.