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Middle schoolers absorb motivation, health tips from Olympic champion

If you go

What: 8th annual Frank Shorter RACE4Kids’ Health 5K and Expo

When: 8 a.m., April 9

Where: 1stBank Center, 11450 Broomfield Lane

Cost: Adult: $40 now through April 8, $45 Race Day

Kids 14 under: $20 through April 8, $25 on Race Day

5K Registration includes post race hot breakfast, swag, expo, and tech shirt. Kids 10 and under get cool cape instead of shirt.

Mazzola Miracle Fun Run/Walk Fees: $10 with T-shirt or without T-shirt free

Diaper Dash/Buzz Fees: $10 with cape or without cape free

More info: Visit frankshorterrace4kids.com

Frank Shorter, wearing a bright green cape, faced Broomfield Heights Middle School students and talked about how his path to Olympic gold began when he was their age.

As a boy growing up in New York, Shorter — who co-founded the Bolder Boulder — lived more than two miles from his junior high school and would run there and back home, school books tucked under his left arm.

“I found an escape through academics,” he said.

Shorter said he ran as a way to escape an abusive father who beat him and his siblings. Later, as he pursued a degree at Yale University and later at the University of Florida College of Law, running was a way to relieve stress.

“I ran to get out of my house and away from my father,” Shorter told the assembly, “and it got me to the Olympics.”

Shorter, an Olympic gold medalist and creator of the Frank Shorter RACE4Kids’ Health 5K and Expo, was the keynote speaker at Broomfield Heights program “Spread the Power of Health.”

The day-long program, planned in partnership with the school and the nonprofit Healthy Learning Paths, invited professional runners to speak to students at Broomfield Heights Middle School.

Shorter, who spoke at an afternoon assembly and led the school in a juice box toast, showed the group a clip from the 1972 Olympic Marathon.

“We want to give students the opportunity to hear from individuals who use the power of health to reach their goals,” Shorter said. “Part of our message is physical fitness, but there is also amazing power in making choices for mental fitness. Runners understand that mental fitness is a key tool to reach our goals, both in our sport and in life.”

Principal Chris Meyer and Kris Lucic, the physical education teacher, invited elite athletes to share real life stories of grit, perseverance and health choices that helped them face failures and move forward towards success.

Students had the opportunity to ask questions about overcoming challenges in both mental and physical health.

Invited athletes included Sara Vaughn, Brent Vaughn, Nicole DeBoom, Stephen Pifer, Trevor Dunbar, Parker Stinson and Kara Lubieniecki.

Lucic also led students in friendly competitions with prizes that included free race entries for the April 9 Frank Shorter RACE4Kids’ Health 5K and Expo.

The 5K features a “Life Is Motion” school trophy and cash prize that is awarded to the school with the greatest number of people who complete the 5K.

The Expo, “Where Science, Engineering and Health Collide,” features more than 80 hands-on exhibits that include Mega Brain, Giant Jenga, and a life size Anatomy in Clay. There will be food and drinks, music, activities for all ages, awards, and $1,100 in prize money.

Last year was the first time the race included the Firefighters Challenge Trophy, which the Longmont Fire Department won by having the largest number of people complete the race. North Metro Fire Rescue District, which serves several municipalities including Broomfield, came in second.

This year the Police Challenge Trophy was thrown into the mix.

Mayor Randy Ahrens, a former Falcons parent, introduced Frank Shorter at the afternoon assembly that capped off the program and school day. He expressed confidence in Broomfield Police Department winning this year.

Spokeswoman Sara Farris, who represented the North Metro Fire Rescue District at Wednesday’s assembly, said this year the department is vying to take the trophy for the Firefighters Challenge.

She went on to talk about the top two causes for firefighter deaths — cancer and cardiac events, such as heart attacks.

Most calls that the department makes are not for fires, but medical reasons.

“We have a lot of people in our community that may be able to avoid a 911 call if they were to adopt a healthier style,” she said, “and you can start that at your age and you can encourage your family to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

She suggested going on walks with families, or entering the upcoming race.

“Encourage your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles and your neighbors,” she said. “We can all do a better job of encouraging each other to eat healthy, to stay physically active and take care of each other mentally.”

Shorter said that while diet and exercise are part of the equation for a healthier life, even more important to him is for people is to have a social and emotional component.

He talked about the level of trust they could place in their teachers and support system. Drawing from his own background, he talked about the importance of having people help you deal with social and emotional problems.

“You realize people do want to help you and they aren’t going to be critical,” Shorter said.

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios

Article source: http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/news/ci_30869033/middle-schoolers-absorb-motivation-health-tips-from-olympic

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