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Frazier cross country team promoting sport through running events

| Thursday, June 17, 2004

The popularity of cross country and track is really picking up speed in the Perryopolis area.

"Things have been going so fast for us. We just finished that Born to Run, and that was really the biggest success we've had," Frazier cross country coach Joe Turek said of the pre-Memorial Day kids running event held at Sampey Park.

The Born to Run event, which drew a record 85 kids this year, was a precursor to next week's fourth annual Run for Fun camp, which will also be held at Sampey Park.

"This follow-up camp is next week," Turek said. "Last year was good. I think the total we had was near 30. Most attended both days, and some attended for one day. Hopefully, we'll have 25 or 30 this year again."

The Run for Fun camp will begin on Tuesday, and Turek said kids will learn the basics of both cross country and track and field.

"We usually break them up into about four different groups," he said, noting that kids in kindergarten through eighth grade from Frazier and surrounding school districts are welcome to attend the free event. "First, we share some things like what to wear when running, and I show them the proper shoes."

Eating habits are also among the little details discussed by Turek and the varsity members of the Frazier cross country team, who help him instruct the camp. Warm-ups and technique are covered as well.

"We show them all our stretches, then we go over some running basics -- proper form, relaxing," Turek said. "We do a little bit of hill running, then we get into how to pass the baton off because we do some relays."

Turek said in addition to the traditional cross country information, kids at this year's camp will learn a little about track and field as well.

"We're going to show them a couple of the weight events, just to show them what they are," Turek said, explaining that many kids think track and field is all about running.

According to a flier on the event, introductions to the javelin, discus and shot put will be held.

Much of that action happens on the first day of camp, but there is plenty to keep kids busy on the second day as well.

"The second day, we review, and we run some races and some relays," Turek said. "We try to cover a lot in a couple days, but everything is very simple, very elementary, and we try to make it fun."

Turek said although the cross country and track events are relatively new in the Perryopolis area, he can already see their effects on the kids.

"Even though we've only been around for four years here, I can already see the maturity," he said. "The kids are becoming more sophisticated (about running)."

Registration forms for the Run for Fun camp can be picked up in the Frazier High School office or at Graphic Images in Connellsville. Kids may also get a form from any member of Frazier's cross country team, and registration will be accepted on the day of the camp. For more information, call Turek at 724-628-0999, Joanne Leary at 724-736-0399, Peggy Sizemore at 724-736-2290 or Suzanne Venneri at 724-326-8535.

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