“My family & I moved to Sacramento in June of 2004 and our oldest son Jake started 5th grade at Crocker Riverside Elementary the following September. Jake was the new kid and somewhat chubby because he preferred TV and Xbox to bike riding or playing outside. My wife and I were both working in high stress jobs that required us to work a lot of hours and we worried about Jake's activity level so we signed him up for the Crocker Riverside Running Club. Jake had a great time, even though he was not a fast runner. The volunteer coaches did a great job of encouraging and nurturing him. Jake has since run numerous local events from 5k to half marathon and triathlons (including a second place in his age group for the championships as a freshman).  He ran track in 7th and 8th grades and went on to run Cross Country & do water polo at CK McClatchy High School. My wife and I could not be more proud.

So, that is the impact that the running program at Crocker had on our son. That is just the start of the story. When Jake started running, my wife, Tina, decided she wanted to start running to lose weight so she signed up to do a 5k in our neighborhood. She and Jake both trained for it, and I can still remember the day that she ran all the way to the stop sign on the corner of 13th and Freeport, which is exactly one mile from our home. She ran the 5k and declared that she wanted to train for the Thanksgiving Day 10k in Sacramento. She did that race and then signed up for the CIM training program for the next year. Since Jake started running, Tina has run many 10k races, 15 half marathons, two marathons, two triathlons, and is presently hooked on trail running.

Not wanting to be left out of all the fun, I gave up smoking, started running, competed in local triathlons & 10ks, have run 5 half marathons, trained for Ironman AZ (had to pull out at last minute due to injury), run 20 miles of the CIM course, and have probably added 10 years to my life, according to my MD.

I coached 3 seasons for the running club at Crocker Elementary and also coached the BE CHANGE kids at Oakridge Elementary. It is one of the more rewarding things that I have done in my life. The children respond really well to the physical activity and encouragement they get from the program.”

*Russ quit his “high stress job” as of November 1, 2009 to work full time employee at Fleet Feet Sports Sacramento. He & Tina became coaches for the No Boundaries program run by Fleet Feet Sacramento. On January 2011, Russ & Tina became equity owners & operators of Fleet Feet Sports Aptos, Ca.


“The children in underprivileged neighborhoods frequently have few role models, especially men, in their lives. They go from school back home and lock themselves inside because the streets aren’t safe for them to play outside. Having them go to an after school running program in elementary school gives them something constructive to do and allows them to interact with positive role models. If we don’t reach them before age 14, we risk their joining gangs to connect with other males. Once they get on the street there is little hope for a way out of that life or neighborhood.”


“An after-school running club is, of course, designed to increase the children's and parents awareness of fitness and well –being. Equally important is that it increases their self esteem and self confidence which could carry them through difficult times and remind them they are strong and can do anything.”


From the start, our running club has been a success and each semester session grows with new students. They learn the body mechanics of running, by doing fun exercises and runs. Our older students have expanded their miles covered with supervised neighborhood runs. At local races, I have seen more of our "daVinci dashers" show up to run and have fun. Thank you to Fleet Feet Sacramento and Saucony for starting us off right.