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WeROCK Trains OC Teens to Run a Marathon

Julie, Sandra, & Christie Ready to Run 20 Miles

Julie, Sandra, & Christie Ready to Run 20 Miles

A couple of weeks ago, I participated with some of my running buddies in the WeROCK Qualifier Event. We Run Orange County’s Kids (WeROCK) is a nonprofit, public-service corporation that provides after-school intervention programs for Middle and High School students in the Orange County, California area. Based on the idea that life is like a marathon, the mission of We ROCK is to teach our community’s teenagers the important life skills of goal setting, self-reliance, discipline and self-confidence through the design and delivery of instructional programs focused on the proper training for, and completion of, a marathon.

Each year WeROCK hosts its very own race – The Qualifier.  After months of training, this event is the “right of passage” for the kids to earn their privilege to participate in the OC Marathon event.  The runners must maintain a 16 min/mile average pace in order to be allowed registration into OC.  For some kids, this pace is not a problem, but for others it can be a struggle.  Our coaches split themselves into various pacing groups to assist in ensuring that all kids cross the line in time, even if that means down to the final minutes.  Someday, we hope to grow the event and create a viable fundraiser for WeROCK while allowing the OC Marathon participants a unique way to complete their long distance run before the BIG SHOW!

Pre-Run Warm Up

Pre-Run Warm Up

This event is a 20 mile run for those kids who want to register for the full OC Marathon and a 9 mile run for those who will run the OC Half Marathon. My friends, Sandra and Christie, and I ran the 20 mile event together. Two of Christie’s children participate in WeROCK and ran the 20 mile qualifier also. So, we were able to support her kids and the program while getting in our long run for the week. The program administrators put together a great event.

WeROCK participants

WeROCK participants

They had everything runners come to expect at a race – we began with the national anthem and we all had our bib numbers assigned. While this event wasn’t chipped, there was an official clock that allowed for us to know our “gun time” and whether we “qualified” by meeting the 16-minute/mile requirement (all the kids who ran the qualifier finished in time to qualify for the OC Marathon or Half).  They had several water and aid stations located along the course. These aid stations were stocked with water, Gatorade, gels, oranges, sandwiches, salt pills, etc. They really do a wonderful job helping to ensure the kids are properly hydrated & fueled for this long run. After we crossed the finish line, we were even awarded a finisher’s medal.

Finisher's Medal

Finisher’s Medal

Also, like official races, we each received a “goody bag” with various product samples and a long sleeved running shirt. A TK Burger’s truck was there to provide a yummy meal to refuel after we burned around 2000 calories running. It was a wonderful event and I am so glad I had the opportunity to participate. It was a great event and the small registration fee was money well spent in support of a great program.

We Qualified!

We Qualified!

For more information on WeROCK visit their website: http://www.werunockids.org/
Here is an article about Coach K and Coach Alexa as they kick off their fundraising for WeROCK while training for Badwater 135 in July:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/kooiman-606560-program-dickerson.html

Julie is an OC Supermom to six beautiful children in Orange County. She is an editor with Astraea Press, active in the community and enjoys running in her free time.
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