Teachers and Students Find Inspiration in the Fort Smith Marathon

Early on Sunday morning, February 14, over 1,000 people participated in the 2nd Annual Fort Smith Marathon to help raise money for the park trails. Sixteen people represented Kimmons including Principal Watkins, Mr. Brandon Jones, Mrs. Remy, Mrs. Parnell, and Miss Pauline. Some ran the full 26.2 miles, others ran the half marathon, and several joined relay teams where each person ran anywhere from 5.8 to 7.5 miles.

Relay team Norwoods Neighborhood, who finished 29th out of 80 teams, included four Kimmons students: Addison Bush, Cynthia Flores, Angel Keohacksa, and Sierra Sargent. They trained after school at Northside High School and Saturdays with Mr. Jones, 7th grade science teacher.

“Staying motivated during the race was hard,” Angel said. “My leg was in the forest, and there weren’t as many people cheering me on. Coach Skelton had inspired me to run in the marathon. He’s really supportive and encouraging to the whole team.”

Some found the marathon a bit intimidating.

“The biggest challenge for me was knowing that so many people were running, and that we were competing with everyone,” Cynthia said.

Sierra had similar feelings.

“I was worried if I was going to do well and make my team proud,” Sierra said.

Another relay team who participated was the Runnin’ Raiders. Led by Mr. Jones, the team included Marianna Hernandez, Andrea Garcia, and Joanna Melendez.

“It was 36 degrees when we started!” Mr. Jones said. “That means I had to run in pants, spandex, two shirts, gloves, and hat. Extra weight is never fun when running!

Some students found inspiration in Cross Country stars at Kimmons.

“Kenny Fernandez inspired me to run in the Fort Smith Marathon because he has been running long distance for three years here, and I want to be like him,” Marianna said.

Others enjoyed stepping out of their comfort zones.

“Trying something I’ve never done before and the feeling of accomplishing something inspired me to participate in the Fort Smith Marathon,” Andrea said.

Mrs. Remy, 8th grade science teacher, fell in love with running in seventh grade. She started her 18-week training plan in October and ran anywhere from 30-50 miles a week.

“The biggest challenge of running the full marathon is time and commitment,” Mrs. Remy said. “Getting up at 4:30 a.m. to get in 6-10 miles before work is tough. Also, on Saturdays, I’m up running usually by 6:00 a.m.”

Relay team Straight Outta K-Town included Jaylei Bolton, Alec Sayvongsa, Charlie Nguyen, and Elisandra Uribe.

Crossing the finish line brought out different emotions.

“I was lucky to be the one to cross the finish line because I ran the fourth leg of the relay,” Mrs. Parnell, 7th grade social studies teacher, said. “I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a race, no matter how long it is.”

The event marked Kenny Fernandez’s second half marathon, which is 13.1 miles.

“I felt so relieved, tired, and excited when I crossed the finish line,” Kenny said. “Most of all, I felt proud. It feels good to finish running for about two hours and having the feeling that your friends and family are proud of you!”