Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Ogden grade-schoolers pledge to run 1,000 miles to win trail funding
Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Ogden's Lincoln Elementary third-graders Lesly Zamora, left, and Marco Uribe lead the pack Thursday. More than 500 students will run a total of 1,000 miles by the end of November to encourage the public to vote for funding of a walking trail in their low-income community.
Ogden • Hundreds of students at Lincoln Elementary have pledged to run a combined 1,000 miles by the end of November — all in hopes of winning enough money to build an exercise trail near their school.
With each mile, students are trying to raise awareness about a $50,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project that could pay for the construction of a trail, with exercise stations, in Ogden’s Mount Eyrie Park.
What Lincoln Elementary is looking for is votes. And lots of them. Quick.
Pepsi will be awarding grants between $5,000 and $50,000 to projects that get the most votes nationwide on its website, Lincoln Elementary’s project can be found by searching for “Mt Eyrie.” Pepsi’s goal is to pay for projects that “refresh” the world.
Sharon Gardner, a YMCA project manager at Lincoln Elementary who has worked with at-risk youth for the past eight years, believes the trail project will do just that for the low-income community she serves. She put the grant proposal together and enlisted students to help spread the word.
“This community doesn’t have a thing out here,” she said. “We are too far from downtown. It would be nice for the community and the school to have this exercise park available.”
More than 500 Lincoln Elementary students have taken the pledge. As a kick-off, students walked or ran a mile the first day.
However, fourth-grader Rogelio Ceja ran two miles in just 15 minutes. “I want this track!” he said.
In addition to students, teachers, parents and faculty are participating in the trek. Playground monitor Rikki Boothe planned to walk more than three miles a day alongside groups of students at recess.
Building an exercise trail has been a dream of retired teacher Julene Hale. She taught fourth and fifth grades at Lincoln Elementary for years before retiring three years ago. But even in retirement, Hale hasn’t left the school. She returns each Wednesday to support the children as they exercise.
Hale hopes that with the community’s support, the school will win the grant. Votes can be cast each day until Nov. 30.
“We are a gold-medal school, which means every student walks a mile once a week,” Hale said. “This exercise trail has been something I’ve daydreamed about for years. I am grateful that Sharon [Gardner] has found a way to make it possible.”
The movement has the support of both the Ogden School District and Ogden City. It also has the backing of the YMCA.
“Our initiatives are all about healthy living and lifestyle,” said Jan Smith, program director for the YMCA. “We can’t think of a better way to support these initiatives than by providing families an outlet for coming out and exercising.”
How to vote
If you’d like to help Lincoln Elementary reach its goal, go to and search for the keywords “Mt Eyrie.” You also can text this code (109790) to Pepsi (73774).

© 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune
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