Fort Worth — Every Wednesday third-grader Cade Whitmire and his mom Christa Whitmire run laps after school with the Bette Perot Elementary School Running Club.“I like to challenge myself to get as many laps as I can,” Cade said. Most weeks, he runs 17 to 19 laps around the field behind the school.Mom Christa said, “I’m a runner, so this is something we have in common.”More than 150 students at Bette Perot Elementary School participate in the running club.On Jan. 30, the club had a special guest runner, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.Price marked laps on students’ hands, ran a lap with the kids and even signed some youngsters’ foreheads in Sharpie at their request.“Don’t giggle because you wiggle,” Price said to several students.Price visited the club to promote Fit Worth, an initiative to encourage families to get active and make healthy choices.“Healthy kids are the backbone of a healthy community,” Price said. “Obviously, to start young helps fight the epidemic of childhood obesity.”Fourth grader Seth Terry celebrated running his 50th mile this year with the running club with a colorful “50” charm to add to a collection hanging on his backpack.Students receive a foot charm each time they attend the club and special charms for reaching various mile counts and participating in charity runs.The group had 100 participants in the Grub Run on Thanksgiving Day at Texas Motor Speedway, a fundraiser for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Bette Perot runners also collected more than 500 cans to donate.The Bette Perot Elementary School Running Club is sponsored by the school’s PTA. About 15 parents help out with the club each week.Tammy King, Running Club co-chair, said the program began seven years ago when the school opened.“It promotes fitness and running, and improves their overall well-being,” King said. “It’s building a lifetime habit.”King said that parents have told her that their kids now run up stairs and that soccer coaches have asked how the kids have improved their endurance.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland