Running for fun
The Irvine community turned out, as always, for the 31st annual Irvine Junior Games at Irvine High School. The annual sports competition for fourth- to eighth-graders from 32 schools helps raise funds to support the Irvine Children’s Fund (ICF). The competition includes track events such as 50- and 100-meter sprints; 400-, 800- and 1500-meter long distance runs; long jump and school relays, as well as bag shot, soccer kick and basketball shoot events.
The opening ceremony features a parade of all the athletes marching with their schools, and includes the national anthem and the lighting of the Irvine Junior Games flame.
The student athletes who compete in Irvine Junior Games come from 32 IUSD elementary and middle schools. The event draws 3,000 spectators and depends on the generosity of volunteers and sponsors, including Hoag, the 2018 presenting sponsor.
The mission of nonprofit ICF is to raise funds to provide scholarships for low-income working families to access before- and after-school child care, to expand and maintain childcare facilities, and to support child wellness services at IUSD elementary schools.
More than 1,000 Irvine elementary school-age kids joined their OC peers to run a timed mile at the Orange County Fairgrounds as part of the Kids Run OC program. The mile run is the final part of a 10-12 week program that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle to help prevent the onset of child obesity.
Called Running Club at some schools, the program includes before- or after-school practices. Through games and fun activities, students learn proper running techniques, build up their strength and stamina, as well as develop healthy eating habits via weekly nutritional challenges. During the program the kids each run a cumulative 25.2 miles. With the final mile at the fairgrounds added, each student runs a marathon distance all told during the program.
While it’s all about fun, fitness, and doing one’s best, a taste of healthy competition never hurts. And a look at the results reveals that kids from Irvine did quite well in all age groups.
Below are some of the top results, with mile times and age groups. Of course, all the kids who ran deserve praise, as do the volunteer coaches and parents who made it all possible.
Can you run a mile in 7 minutes or under? These Irvine kids did! Age 10: Julianna Yoon, 5:46, first place; Age 9+ open division: Madison Ledgard (5:42), first place, Troy Kiem (5:46), second place; Age 9: Miguel Alencar, 6:22, third place, Ethan Wang 6:22, fourth place (looks like a tie to us!); Age 8 and under, open division: Grace Richardson (6:49), fourth, Stone Ho, (6:51), fifth; Age 8: Mason McIntyre (6:34), second place, Ranze Takashima (6:44), sixth place; Age 7: Armond Jackson (6:59), third place, James Buchen (7:02), fourth place, Tianzhi Neo Jiao (7:10), sixth place; Age 6: Eiler King (6:50), second place.