BOULDER - Students at 80 schools across Colorado are preparing to run the Bolder Boulder -- all 6.2 miles -- on Memorial Day.
Fourth grade students at Flatirons Elementary School in Boulder are about six weeks into a ten-week training program that involves monitoring their runs with pedometers and setting goals.
"My goal was 8 laps and I got ten," said Piper Ellbogen-Pettersen after a run.
She has run the race twice before.
"You have to train, but it's fun once you get the hang of it," Ellbogen-Pettersen said.
Their motivation comes from within.
"You feel accomplished," said Solymar Kneale, who ran last year.
"When you get into the stadium, it's so much fun just running around it," said another young race veteran, Colin Barnes.
"When we got to the stadium we started yelling and waving our hands and it felt really good," Kneale.
Their inspiration, however, comes from members of the military. Students are writing letters to some of the service members who will take part in the Bolder Boulder Overseas Race.
"Thank you for fighting for our freedom," one student wrote.
"Dear hero, I am writing to wish you the best of luck in the Bolder Boulder," read one of the letters.
The combined experience is an opportunity for 2,500 students to learn about the meaning of Memorial Day and also gain an appreciation for exercise.
"We want to show kids that with a little bit of effort and a lot of fun, you can have a great experience exercising," said Alice Swanson, the Bolder Boulder Programs Director.
The participating students get a discount on their registration for the Bolder Boulder.
-- If you want to train for the Bolder Boulder: http://ch7ne.ws/BBTrain
-- More race information or race registration: http://www.bolderboulder.com