Kelbie Black loves to run.

That was evident Monday when the 10 year old completed her 1,000th mile while running as part of Taylor Creek Elementary Schoool’s Marathon Kids club. Kelbie ran the last few feet through a throng of applauding classmates, then burst through the finish line to reach the milestone.

Her dad Kyle started the program at Taylor Creek three years ago.

“Run clubs are about the easiest way you can have something that you talk about with parents and children,” the Taylor Creek P.E. teacher said in an interview last week. “So I was just researching that and came across Marathon Kids and loved their program, and so that’s why we started it.”

Kelbie was involved from the first, beginning her climb to 1,000 miles in third grade.

“I was really difficult at the start, when I thought I wasn’t going to be good at running, as much as I liked it,” Kelbie said last week. “it started getting easier on the way.”

Marathon Kids encourages kids to work at their own pace to run or walk four marathons, the equivalent of just over 104 miles. The goal is to get kids moving and help put them on a path to healthier lives.

“She has just not quit,” said Heidi Gollub, chief marketing officer for Marathon Kids. Gollub said Kelbie ran the equivalent of 22 marathons last year.

“She sets a goal and she goes, and she sets the next goal and keeps going,” Gollub said. “That really embodies the whole mission of Marathon Kids, because we just want to show kids it’s fun, and...(that) great goals can be accomplished little by little.”

Gradually, Kelbie built up to running and walking five days a week and averaging between five and 15 miles in that time frame. She runs before, after and about ten minutes during her day at school.

She’s also had to overcome some physical challenges. After hitting her head last year, she began getting headaches. Her parents decided to put a stop to her running until she felt better. Her father said she sat out for most of October before they felt comfortable letting her run again.

That’s when the discovered Kelbie was closing in on 1,000 miles and decided to make that her next goal.

Her dad is extremely proud of her achievements in running. But he’s just as proud of her character and heart.

“She didn’t set out to run this much,” Kyle Black said. “She just found something she loves and she just wants to pursue that.” He also likes that she is helping other kids with her enthusiasm.

“She encourages other runners that are out there,” Black said. “In the morning, she’ll run with a first-grader or second-grader. It’s just cool to see some of that influence she’s had to encourage some of the younger runners.”

After crossing the finish line, Kelbie stood by her dad as people came up to congratulate her on her achievement.

“I feel good, excited,” she said, catching her breath. When asked if she was glad to finally be done with all the attention, she smiled and said, “Kinda.”

Kyle Black called the morning exciting and said he was happy to see his daughter accomplish her goal.

And Kelbie isn’t through running. In addition to continuing with Marathon Kids, she plans to join the track team at her school when that option becomes available. She also plans to start participating in some of the running events that are held in the area.

dperdue@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7568

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