GARLAND -- At Kimberlin Academy of Excellence in Garland, several dozen elementary students are training in the school parking lot for the ING KiDS ROCK Dallas marathon.
"We call it our 'fire lane laps,'" said PE teacher Marcie Adame. "It takes six laps to do an entire mile, and they collect popsicle sticks as they go around to keep track of their mileage.
"We look to not focusing on the mileage," Adame continued, "but on the amount of time they're on their feet."
The students have been training weekly for two months. By the end of the week, Marcie Adame's students will have each run 25.2 miles cumulatively at their own pace at school.
The last mile of the marathon is finished at the actual ING KiDS ROCK event at Fair Park Saturday. The Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half-marathon takes place Sunday.
"It feels really good, because I know I'm really young to be doing that," said third grader Athena Gonzales. "It makes me feel really proud."
"It doesn't matter if you win or lose; if you're first place or not," said first grader Angus Pray. "You'll still get that medal, even if you participate. That's the only rule if you want to get the medal. But the medal comes in this drinking bottle that you also get."
The challenge is in line with the First Lady's "Let's Move" initiative to fight childhood obesity. Adame is an avid runner and an advocate of fighting childhood obesity. This is her second year to have her physical education students train and run in the ING KiDS ROCK.
Adame said what her students learn running, they take home to their families and incorporate into healthier living. But, the obesity epidemic is not why the children choose to run.
"I like to run because it feels like I'm free," said Anna Hocket, a second grader, "And I really like to be free."
Hocket and her classmates agree that it's not the type of shoes that make a good runner. Heart (and finishing) are what matters.