Over Two Thousand People Run For Education In Reno

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Over two thousand joggers hit the track during the annual "Meridian Gold Run for Education" in Damonte Ranch on Sunday. And even though everyone ran at their own pace, they were all competing for the same important cause.

Perfect running weather helped joggers of all ages and skill levels tear through four different courses at Damonte Ranch High School.

"It's fantastic," said Kelly Whalen, a Physical Education Teacher who was competing. "Beautiful weather; great track; a well run race."

"It's always a beautiful day to run," said Patrick Osgood who was running with his son. "Whether it's rain or shine, we love it."

Organizers expected to raise $150 thousand with half the money funding physical education programs and the other half helping less fortunate students pay for summer school. The event encourages a big turnout by awarding extra money to the schools with the most participants.

"Not only does it get people out in the community to run on a Sunday morning, but the school also gets some money for it and it gets some participation," said Lindsey Peterson, a UNR student who participated in the event.

With the economy the way it is, schools are hurting just as much as anyone else these days and the Washoe County School District Superintendent Paul Dugan said that's made physical education a lower priority.

"I wish i could say that it's exactly where it needs to be, but it's not," said Dugan. "We need to try and make it a priority, but to be real honest, with all of the budget cuts that are occurring, it's going to be very difficult to do that."

The Superintendent said most Washoe County Elementary Schools can't afford physical education teachers, which is why parents say events like the run are so important.

"Everybody needs to be active every day," said Norah Constantino, a parent and jogger. "Kids need 60 minutes of activity. Anything we can do to get kids more active is very important."

"That's all it takes," said Whalen. "Just a little bit every day. Just like an apple a day. Just a little bit at a time."

A study shows the percentage of overweight kids has more than doubled over the past thirty years.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends all kids get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.