Livermore school home to fittest kids in Calif.

October 23, 2009 9:56:40 PM PDT
Childhood obesity could one day be an epidemic in this country. Now one Bay Area school is helping train some of the most fit kids in California -- so much so, it got our attention and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's. ABC7 News salutes the teachers, parents and students of Rancho Las Positas Elementary School in Livermore for making health and fitness a top priority.

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For the students of Rancho Las Positas the song, "Eye of the Tiger," has stuck with them ever since running became their passion.

Students shared the different reasons why they run.

"It helps you get fit," said Sierra Wysock.

"And then you have something to do instead of just sitting in your desk all day," said Katie Hinds.

"If you stay fit then you are able to do a lot more things," said Nico Robles.

"You get to keep track of how much you ran and you get to set a goal for yourself," said Megan Forstner.

Most students run every day early in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the day with teachers. They get a popsicle stick every time they go around the track; four laps equal a mile. For that they get a small foot charm they wear around their neck. When they have completed 10 miles they collect a large foot.

The kids have been doing this for the last three years. According to the school, they have averaged about 120,000 miles. That is equivalent to about five times around the Earth.

The idea to get these kids in better shape started three years ago thanks to two parents.

"We knew we needed to improve fitness and we were doing volunteer P.E. here at the school and a project fit coordinator said you got a great place to run, you guys should really utilize that," said parent David Hinds. "If someone were to measure it, you would have a track."

It ended up measuring a quarter of a mile and they haven't stopped running or walking since.

When you're among these kids, it's hard not to be active. Just a few weeks ago they watched a slideshow of their most memorable moment when the school was acknowledged for having the most fit kids in California. That proud moment came on September 15 when they won the Governor's Fitness Award, which also meant meeting the former Mr. Universe himself.

"It was fun," said student Ronnie Hahlbeck. "He had a really deep voice, too."

The school's principal, Chris Calabrese, remembered the governor's exact words: "Thank you very much. That's a nice thing your school did for the state of California."

The school also received $100,000 in exercise equipment which they donated to an underserved school in Modesto.

"It was just the right thing to do," said Calabrese. "There's schools out there that are hurting."

These two parents continue to share their vision of helping kids get and stay fit.

"We are actually trying to help other schools in Livermore and the Bay Area work on the governor's fitness challenge and implement these running programs," said parent Bret Dupuis. "We've successfully implemented this program in about 20 to 25 schools."

Now their goal is to someday build a track there.

"We don't have obesity problems here. We don't have the behavioral problems because these kids run all their energy out here," said Hinds. "If we can build upon that and spread that out, that would be the greatest legacy I could hope for."

ABC7 News salutes these two outstanding parents, the teachers and the very fit students of Rancho Las Positas.

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