Runners take your mark—Saturday more than 125 students in grades third through fifth from the 109 will join hundreds of kids participating in The Cowtown races.
Running clubs from both Tanglewood and Lily B. Clayton Elementary Schools have been practicing for months working on correct running form, building endurance and learning to pace themselves.
Lily B. Clayton running coach and physical education teacher Tim Dague said his club began practicing for The Cowtown in January. Working two days a week, he has gradually lengthened the distance run by students from one and a half miles to a little more than two and a half miles.
Tanglewood running coach and PTA volunteer Melinda Howson has followed a similar regimen. That club has met three days a week since October and participated in other race events throughout the school year, she said, such as the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in December.
Students from both clubs will run in the Cook Children’s 5K Run. Howson said she also had some who will run in the 10K.
The Cook Children’s 5K starts at the corner of Gendy and Burnett-Tandy Drive and ends across from Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on Harley Avenue, according to The Cowtown website.
Each year more than 5,000 people, kids and some parents, participate in the Cook Children’s 5K Bill Palmer, a Cowtown Marathon volunteer for more than 30 years, said. The 3.1 mile race can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of the participant.
Howson said her students can run at least a 10-minute mile. She said she has told them to set a comfortable pace. She will recognize the top three finishers in each grade from her club with a certificate and recognize them on the school announcements. She said her main goal was that everyone had a good time.
“My biggest thing is that everyone enjoy it and just learn to get out and move and exercise,” Howson said.
Dague said his club has all levels of runners. He encouraged his students to improve upon their past performances. For seasoned Cowtown participants this means looking to last year’s race time as a measure to beat and for new race runners improving on their times logged in practices he said.
He said his program is all about getting kids active and moving. Even if the students do not love to run, they love the activities they do, which contain running in them.
 “My goal is not just to have them active now, but active for live,” Dague said.
About The Cowtown
The Cowtown is a three-day, six race event, including the Cook Children’s 5K, Adults 5K and 10K on Saturday, Feb. 25 and the University of North Texas Health Science Center Half Marathon, Marathon and Ultra Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 26. The Cowtown Health and Fitness Expo will also take place on Friday, Feb. 24 Palmer said.
The Cowtown Marathon is a nonprofit organization that promotes health and fitness in the community. Palmer said promoting running among young people was one of the organization’s main goals.
Proceeds from the event go to various charities including The Cowtown Marathon’s Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness program (C.A.L.F.), which provides free tennis shoes and pays half the Cook Children’s 5K entrance fee for those in need Palmer said.