Ratliff Road Race coming up this month

As part of its initiative to get the community engaged with Ector County Independent School District, the Faculty Fitness Health Program Ratliff Road Race is set for Feb. 24 at Ratliff Stadium.

There will be a 5K and 3K race. The 5K will start at 9 a.m. and the 3K at 9:15 a.m., PE and Health Coordinator Michael Neiman said. The race will start and end at Ratliff Stadium.

The 5K is just over three miles and the 3K is just short of two miles, he said. Walkers, joggers, runners and racers are welcome.

“With the new chipping system, everybody gets a bib, which is the number that gets pinned on the front of their shirt. And then a chip is put in that bib. When they cross the start-finish line, their time begins and they run the course. Then it ends when they come back across again, so each person is being timed individually. You can be way at the back of the line. Even if it takes you a couple of minutes to get to the start line, your time begins when you go across that line,” Neiman said.

“One of the big neat draws for us is we’re going to have the Daktronics board up there. … They’ll be able to watch themselves start and finish the race on the board,” he added.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help out will get a free T-shirt. Short-sleeved shirts are $11 and the long-sleeved are $12.50 and these are at cost, Neiman said.

“Our motto of for the district, by the district, at the district and free is in place. If you don’t want to buy the shirt doesn’t cost you anything,” he said.

The Faculty Fitness Health Program started as faculty only and their families, Neiman said.

“This year, we’re branching out to the community. We did the community night at Crockett. This is faculty, plus the community,” he added.

Scott McLeod, a race director and PE coach at Cameron Dual Language Magnet, said Wednesday that about 80 people had signed up for the race citywide and about 10 of them were from Cameron.

“I’m hoping if things go well, we’ll have 50 to 100 from Cameron. I have a run club that I started a couple of years ago. At our run club, we have 90 kids. If I could get half of them to show up, I’d be thrilled,” McLeod said.

About four years ago, McLeod said he wanted to make a healthy change in his life, so he started running. He and his wife have now run marathons and half marathons.

“I’m not sure if it’s love or addiction. Whatever it was, I wanted to share it with the kids,” he said.

The clubs meet twice a week for about 45 minutes and do laps.

This year, the club has run more than 3,000 miles as a group.

He said he hopes that the benefit to the community will be long-term.

“I would like to see our kids continue on long after they leave Cameron with an active lifestyle. I hope parents will turn out and be supportive and embrace it a little bit more than what they have,” McLeod said.

ON THE NET: Ratliff Road Race.