Super Kids Race Day a treat for all

Monday, February 11, 2002

Every race was a photo finish at Southeast Missouri State University's Student Recreation Center Sunday.

Proud parents snapped pictures and videotaped their young ones as they competed in the 13th annual Super Kids Race Day.

Some parents and relatives seemed to get as much, if not more, exercise than the kids. They, too, ran every race. Some physically, some vicariously; but always encouraging, cajoling, comforting.

Organized by the City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department, the event drew about 115 participants, from toddlers to 15-year-olds.

"As you can see, the kids and the parents all look forward to this," said Chris Eastridge, Parks and Recreation Department coordinator. "Everyone seems to enjoy it."

The first three placers in each division were awarded medals -- gold, silver and bronze -- and each child received a ribbon of participation and a T-shirt.

A. J. Stroup, 8 months old, of Cape Girardeau was the event's first gold medalist with a victory in the Crawler division. Stroup, grandson of Notre Dame Regional High School volleyball coach Helen Payne, crossed the finish line 14 seconds ahead of Zoie Roth in the 20-foot race.

Brothers Corey and Christian Cavaness of Cape Girardeau took home first places in the 3-year-old 200-meter run and 7-year-old 400-meter run, respectively.

Corey, 3, attributed his win to his "Power Ranger shoes." Christian, 7, said he just likes to run.

Tyler Rhodes, 9, of Cape Girardeau is a Race Day veteran. He has competed for six years and won each time.

Some of the teen participants have future goals in mind, such as Josh Adams, 14, of Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

"I run to get ready for cross country," Adams, a ninth-grader who competes for his school's cross country team, said.

For 15-year-old Rachel Lowes of Jackson, Mo., running the mile was a test, of sorts.

"I'm thinking about running distance races for the Jackson track team this year, so I was just going to try the mile and see how it was," said Lowes.

It went well as she won the gold in the girls 13-15 division.

Super Kids Race Day is staffed by part-time employees of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Race starter Scott Mitchell put perspective on the day's activities when he said, "It's great. I've been doing this for six years and I love it. I just love working with the kids."

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