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(From left) The Village School seniors Timothy Tjalma, Matias Cattani and Sebastian Magana posing for a picture at the conclusion of the Aramco Half Marathon. (Photo: Harleen Bhatia)
On Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, 13 students represented The Village School in the 18th Annual Aramco Half Marathon. The event welcomed nearly 200,000 spectators as they cheered on runners from all 50 states and 57 different countries for the simultaneously occurring 48th Annual 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon.
“Running the Half Marathon is not only a great achievement but it functions as a personal challenge to demonstrate [my] hard work throughout the years with [a] finishing time,” senior Sebastian Magana said. “Every year it is exciting to see improvement, and it incentivizes runners to get in shape for the upcoming track and field season."
What made the race even more special for the runners was that they had the privilege of running for The Arbor School, a comprehensive special needs education program in Houston that serves children with developmental delays, who range from 3 months through age 12. With a 1:1 or 2:1 student/teacher ratio, the program’s mission is not only to educate but rather empower and build hope for children with disabilities to help them reach their maximum potential. Through efforts by The Village School runners and others, the Arbor School was in the Marathon’s Top 10 Charity Partners, raising over $40,000.
In addition to running for the Half Marathon, The Village School Cross Country Team also organizes an annual fundraiser for The Arbor School. In this year’s Arbor Relay Fundraiser, 12 Village runners ran for 24 hours with all proceeds donated toward the cause.
“Running for The Arbor School has been a long tradition for the Cross Country team, and I wanted to carry the tradition forward,” senior Matias Cattani said. “They’re a great local organization that does a lot to help kids with special needs.”
To prepare for the race, the runners spent weeks preparing.
“I followed a training plan which focused on tempo and long runs,” Cattani said. “I also made sure that I was mentally prepared in the days leading up to the race.”
Besides being a part of something bigger than themselves, the runners could undoubtedly agree that the experience was better with friends.
“The best part about the experience was that I was able to share it with my teammates,” Cattani said. “Running alongside my friends made the experience so much more enjoyable!”