A reading and running program at Metea Valley High School in Aurora will culminate this weekend with the school's first 5K race for charity, the Metea LIFE Run.
Fueling the race is the book "Running the Edge" by Olympian Adam Goucher and distance runner Tim Catalano.
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If you goWhat: Metea LIFE Run 5K
Why: Culminates Metea Valley's running and reading program; raises money for the Tyson Education Center at North Central College and for Chicago Run, which fights childhood obesity
When: Race begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1; check-in begins at 7 a.m.
Where: Metea Valley High School, 1801 N. Eola Road, Aurora
The authors presented their message of self-improvement through goal-setting to students during their English periods in April. Metea then embarked on a schoolwide reading initiative, incorporating themes of running, physical fitness and self-evaluation into classes as varied as physical education, health, marketing and career preparation, said Diane Tancredi, language arts department chairwoman.
Teachers passed copies of the book along to students, who could read it and pass it along again as the school rallied for its first charity race since opening in 2009.
At least 200 people -- the majority of them students -- are expected to run the 5K at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1, on the school's campus, finishing in the football stadium. Community members are invited to sign up for $25 before midnight Thursday, May 30, at active.com.
"I'm really excited that for the first run we have that many participants," Tancredi said. "I'm really excited about the energy and involvement level of the student body -- all the way from reading to taking on the personal challenge of trying the run and others just using the book as a goal-setting model."
Faculty members also have joined in the initiative, with 20 of them forming a training team led by girls cross country and track coach Eric Anerino, who also is an English teacher.
Anerino has coaxed the previously inactive adults into 5K shape, and said many of them plan to read "Running the Edge" over the summer to complete their running and reading journey.
"They started with a little jogging and walking interspersed," Anerino said last week. "Today they're up to nearly 30 minutes of running."
Even students, staff members and parents who won't be running 3.2 miles Saturday morning are finding ways to get involved, he said. Some are volunteering at the race, like members of the Parent Teacher Student Association, who will be doling out bananas, bagels and water to finishers.
Funds raised from the race will be split between two causes -- one connected to reading and literacy, the Tyson Education Center at North Central College, and another tied to running and childhood obesity prevention called Chicago Run.
Authors Goucher and Catalano also will be back in Aurora for the run, with Catalano running the course and encouraging participants along the way. Both will be signing autographs, even for non-runners. While the race steps off at 9 a.m., packet pickup begins at 7 a.m. at the school, 1801 N. Eola Road.
"You don't have to run," Tancredi said. "You can just come, meet the authors and be here for the festivities."