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Running for fun

by: LINDA HUNDHAMMER Third-graders, from left, Emma Fulmer, Carli Ghiselline, Daniella Staffur, Elisabeth Dombrow and Laura Perry form a chorus line to cheer on the kindergarten runners.

Jubilant.

That is the best word to describe the Sunset Primary Fun Run held last Friday.

The sun was out, the music was blasting and the students were dancing, laughing and cheering as kindergarten through fifth-grade students strapped on their tennies and took to the track.

It was happy day on campus.

The opening ceremony kicked off at 9 a.m. with a tribute to two retiring veterans: Kathy Ira, a 30-year PE/wellness teacher, and Marilyn Ellwood the 30-year district nurse.

'They've been trying to kick me out for years,' Ira said laughing. 'But I wouldn't let them. I felt 30 years was the right number. It got to the point that I was teaching some of the kids of some of the kids.

'It has been a busy 30 years,' Ellwood said. 'I have a lot of stories to tell. One year I had a first-grade student who got a rock in his nose. He told me he'd been 'bull-nosing.''

The kindergarteners were the first to take the field, with upper-graders and the West Linn High School cheerleading squad rooting them around the track.

Sunny, the school's giant eagle mascot, gave the runners a winged high five as they lapped the field.

The theme of this year's Fun Run was 'Run For Your Life,' and every student received a royal blue T-shirt bearing the 2011 logo created by fifth-grader Kylie Fretwell.

The Sunset Primary PTSO hosts the Fun Run, and all money raised is used for special programs at the school. The runners' get pledges for each completed lap.

'The student that gets the most pledges gets to be principal for a day,' Kathy Ludwig, Sunset's principal, said. 'Second place gets the street outside the school named for him or her for a year.

'The run is not a speed race. The students are asked to sustain a healthy pace and pay attention to their body and their breathing.'

'This is my third Fun Run,' said Blane Burton, 10. 'It is my favorite thing we do. This year, we are allowed to bring our iPods. I'm going to be running hard to Rodney Atkins.'