Young runners GO FAR in High Point race
Kyle Blendinger had plenty of motivation to run hard in Saturday morning’s Triad GO FAR 5K.
The 14-year-old Southwest Guilford High School freshman ran the 3.1-mile race through downtown High Point with his girlfriend’s father, Peter Sentner, who promised a dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Greensboro if Blendinger finished ahead of him.
Sentner pulled away at the end, however, and crossed the finish line under the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal first, which meant Blendinger had more work to do on Saturday.
“He’s going to rake my leaves,” said Sentner. “He’s actually an excellent baseball player, so this isn’t his expertise. It was great having somebody to run with the whole time. It was fun. We had fun just running beside each other.”
The two were among the more than 1,600 runners in Saturday’s race, which drew a large crowd of spectators in and around the Showplace parking lot and along surrounding streets to cheer on the participants.
The GO FAR, or Go Out for A Run, program involves an 8-week to 10-week regimen in which students train for a 5K race while learning about nutrition and other topics.
The program was created in High Point 10 years ago by Physician Assistant Robin Lindsay in an attempt to fight the childhood obesity epidemic. It has grown to serve about 8,000 children a year in elementary and middle schools, as well as after-school programs, in several states.
Students from 39 Triad schools and clubs were registered for Saturday’s race. They start off in the program running and walking in three-minute segments as they work toward their exercise goals.
“It’s working on their pace and their endurance and their breathing, so by this past week, their goal was to be able to run a full 30 minutes without stopping,” said Annette Sentner, Peter Sentner’s wife and the GO FAR coach at Southwest Guilford Middle School. “There’s some that come out, and the best they might be able to do is walk, but that’s OK. The whole idea behind the GO FAR program is really getting kids active and interested. And it’s supposed to be fun. We want them to understand that fitness is something that can be fun.”
The program aims to teach that active lifestyles can be sustained throughout students’ lives.
“We teach a lot about nutrition,” said Annette Sentner. “One thing we focused on this time was grams of sugar in our food and watching the nutritional value. (Students) learn how to read nutritional labels and just make a more conscious effort to eat raw fruits and vegetables rather than packaged items or chips and cookies.”
Many parents ran alongside their children Saturday, including Lee Dingman and his 10-year-old son, Jack, from Summerfield. The two ran a 5-mile race in Greensboro in August and several shorter courses. The preparation apparently paid off, as Jack was scarcely breathing hard shortly after crossing the finish line Saturday.
“I felt really good,” he said. “For all of our races, we’ve been training.”
It was no surprise to his father, who said exercise is a big point of emphasis for he and his wife and their four children.
“We’re interested in having them be fit and run hard,” Dingman said.
Eight-year-old Andrew Seeber of Greensboro finished the race in 26 minutes and 25 seconds.
“It was OK,” he said. “That’s my farthest distance ever.”
His father, Kurt Seeber, said the family often goes on running and bicycling outings together.
“He wanted to run a 5K, so I told him I’d run it with him,” Seeber said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great day and a great event.”