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Mesa teacher inspiring her students through exercise

"I thought, 'what an interesting experience for them to physically see what it’s like through the tool of a marathon,'" said 6th-grade teacher Shana Murray.

MESA, Ariz. — A 6th-grade teacher in Mesa is training her students for a marathon to help them gain the motivation they lost during the pandemic. 

At first, Shana Murray’s students at Guerrero Elementary School were not enthusiastic about running.

“I was like, 'no I can’t do this I won’t be able,' but I still joined,” Murray’s student David Peria said. 

But Murray has encouraged the majority of her class to take part in the Mesa Marathon with her on Feb. 12. 

She said It’s an idea she came up with while running. The students will run 1-3 mile stretches of the 26-mile marathon with her and help motivate her along the way.

“Teachers have to be creative in ways to motivate their students,” Murray said. “Running is a good comparison to life. When distance running you get these walls where you feel like you can’t keep going anymore.”

But now her students are learning they can overcome anything.

“Through having to tell me, I’m hoping that it will help train their brain to think that way more often for themselves as well,” Murray said.

But along the way, Murray realized many of the kids don’t have proper running shoes. Money is tight for a lot of them. Some 96% of students at Guerrero Elementary qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.

So Murray started a GoFundMe account to raise money for their shoes, so they can train for the marathon.

“If they can use this example throughout the rest of their life as their motivating tool then I would consider it a success,” Murray said.

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