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Eastbluff kids go all out

About 130 children from the Newport Beach elementary school have been training to compete in Sunday’s run.

March 19, 2010|By Steve Virgen

“I really admire that these kids are out here and doing it,” said Pham, a 5K runner for the UCI track team. “I don’t think I would do it if I were their age. They are really motivated for their age. They are fun to work with.”

Rex Nelson, a former Newport Harbor High standout now on the UCI track and cross country teams, wanted to help too. But his class schedules conflicted with the training times at Eastbluff. But Nelson figured out a different way to help. He’ll be a pace runner for races on Sunday.

“I thought it would be fun because track and field doesn’t get that much attention,” Nelson said. “I think maybe I could have them love running as much as I do. Running is very healthy for kids. I also just wanted to let them know that running is a cool thing to do.”


The children have been running plenty for the past two months. The UCI athletes have taken them on those same runs they met Daruty on along the Back Bay trails.

Thursday’s training was a bit more light, as the young runners were tapering before the races on Sunday.

“It’s been tough, but fun,” Matt Morton, 12, said of the training.

The Eastbluff runners are training to stay in shape, but they’re also competing for their school. The Spirit Run is one of three events the children compete against other schools throughout the year. They’ll also vie for a trophy in the City of Newport Beach track meet next month and then the OC Marathon in May.

“It’s so important to run,” said Paige Wood, 7. “You just want to get your school to be good, the best and you want to give 100%.”

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