Running club teaches kids to set goals

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — The world’s eyes were on Boston on Monday, as the first marathon since the 2013 bombing went off without a hitch.

Two people who were glued to the TV are not just average runners. They’re just kids, but they already are setting big goals and using a local running club to help them reach them.

Alexis Kaleda, 12, has running in her blood. She has been running for four years.

“My grandpa was a marathoner. My dad is a marathoner. My aunts and uncles are marathoners. And I want to be one someday too,” Alexis said.

She and her 9-year-old sister Kayla already have their eyes on the Boston Marathon.

“It’s a really big race and you have to be really fast to qualify to be in it,” Kayla said.

Even at their young age, the sisters are taking what happened at last year’s marathon and using it as inspiration in their own running careers.

“Something bad just happened but they still kept going,” Kayla said.

“It inspired a lot of people to keep going,” Alexis said.

And the girls remember that lesson when they’re running, too. Both girls are members of the FasKidz running club at the Davis Family YMCA in Boardman, so they run a lot.

The club starts its season every year right around the time of the Boston Marathon.

“We talk about anything from form to racing strategies to nutrition and those kinds of things so they learn the right way starting off,” said Tom Grantonic, branch director of the Davis Family YMCA.

The program is in its sixth year, with more than 30 kids from ages 7 to 13. They meet twice a week, and help kids get ready to race in the Memorial Mile in May.

“In this age group, if you put a kid in a big room, what’s the first thing they do? They take off running all over the place. Kids love to run. So why not just wrap a program around it and let them put it toward something really useful and something that will last for a lifetime,” Grantonic said.

Parents are invited out, too, and encouraged to run with their kids during the week.

Alexis and Kayla are grateful for the opportunity to hone their skills. And even when it gets tough, they remember what happened in Boston and keep pushing through.

“I might be running and it might feel hard, but people had it harder,” Alexis said.

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