Middle Schoolers Lace Up for Final ING Mile

Ultrarunner Dane Rauschenberg met dozens of runners at Vineland K-8 Center Friday.

By Julia Bagg
|  Friday, Jan 25, 2013  |  Updated 1:25 PM EDT
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Leo Cruz is joining more than 5,000 Miami-Dade middle schoolers in capping off a cumulative marathon at the hallmark Miami race this Sunday.

Leo Cruz is joining more than 5,000 Miami-Dade middle schoolers in capping off a cumulative marathon at the hallmark Miami race this Sunday.

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Sporting orange laces, Leo Cruz is way ahead of most ING marathoners.

All Cruz has left of the 26.2-mile distance is little more than a single mile. 

"I'm pumped up and I'm ready to go," the Vineland fifth grader said.

He's joining more than 5,000 Miami-Dade middle schoolers in capping off a cumulative marathon at the hallmark Miami race this Sunday.

"I love it," he said, just finishing a practice run.

It's part of the 2013 ING Run For Something Better Program, which encourages middle schoolers to develop healthy habits. 

"I've been exercising," he said. "I can do it!"

"Shorts... sneakers!" yelled Coach Carlos Jarro at his runners, reminding them what to wear Sunday.

On the school field, "They run about half a mile every day," he said.

They've been logging miles toward a marathon since October.

Ultrarunner Dane Rauschenberg met dozens of runners at Vineland K-8 Center Friday.

He shared pointers with Cruz and his classmates, reminding him to keep his shoelaces tied.

"We hope this isn't a one and done type thing," said Rauschenberg, who ran 52 marathons in a single year. "We're hoping this is a lifelong thing so they can stick with it and combat the obesity epidemic that's out there in America."

Cruz is already hooked.

"When I'm running, I feel like I have the world," he said.

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