Sophomore David Boley and juniors Emma Brown and Adam Ketchum stretch after running half a mile to warm up before starting their run for the day.

Running elective returns to prepare students for half marathon

The running elective is back this year after being taught off and on since 2008.

Math teacher Patricia Jacobsen began teaching this elective in 2008.

She started the elective because of one of her students, she said.

Marco Siragusa, ‘10, was in his junior year when he got lost driving to a cross-country meet. He was hoping to do really well at the meet, using his success for college applications. But he arrived too late to run.

Hearing Siragusa’s news, Jacobsen thought he should make something good out of what had happened.

She suggested that he run a half marathon, which would also look good on college apps.

Jacobsen told her advisory about the half marathon and that she would even run a full marathon.

Students Molly Tash, ‘10, and Marina Serrano, ‘11 approached Jacobsen after this and told her they wanted to run the marathon with her.

The three started to train for the Big Sur International Marathon during their lunches and electives, as well as on the weekends.

The three of them “wouldn’t let each other quit,” Jacobsen said.

After weeks the runners were prepared, and they finished the entire race.

“Since then I’ve worked with several students, alumni and parents to train for a half marathon,” Jacobsen said.

The 11 students in this elective, plus three cross-country students who are training by themselves, are preparing for the upcoming Shamrock’n Half Marathon in Sacramento, on March 15.

Last week they began their training, leaving campus before elective started. Because most of her students are in good shape from fall sports, Jacobsen has started the class at an intermediate level, beginning by running three to three-and-a-half miles.

The class runs at least three times a week, Jacobsen said.

“Last time we ran by the river on the bike trail,” junior Emma Brown said. “I really liked that we could all have our own pace; there was no pressure to go really fast or too slow.”

Students will continue to build up their mileage by 10 percent or less each week. Building up at a faster rate can easily cause injuries, Jacobsen said.

They are being taught proper form, which, according to Jacobsen, is “(the) most important part of running.”

According to Brown, Jacobsen told the students that their goal for this elective should be to finish the half marathon rather than to get a specific time.

Jacobsen also spoke to her students about proper running gear, including appropriate clothing, socks and shoes, as well as materials they should carry while running the race.

Brown said she enjoys the individual side of running. She has the ability to run at her own pace while still keeping up with the rest of the group.

“No one else can truly push you to your limit, because you are the only person who knows how far you can go,” Brown said.

Brown also likes the camaraderie of running in a group. “You know everyone else is going through what you are going through,” she said.

Freshman Molly Gherini has also joined the running elective.

She has never run a half marathon.

Gherini did cross country when she was attending Christian Brothers earlier in the year. She also went running with her best friend, Della, every morning last year.

Her favorite part about running is listening to music, Gherini said.

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