ST. CHARLES – Haines Middle School sixth-grade student Emma Schnulle munched on an orange slice Saturday to try to regain some of the energy she expended a few minutes earlier running in the school's Halloween 5K.
"I think the hardest part was keeping my energy up," the 11-year-old said.
Emma was one of more than 500 Haines students and parents who participated in the race. This was the first time the school had hosted a 5K event.
Her father, Ray Schnulle, was happy to see her participate.
"Something like this gets the kids outside," he said. "And running is a lot of fun."
The large turnout delighted organizers.
"This was more than we imagined we would have," said Haines physical education teacher Samantha Trimarco-Bugger. "We are so happy with the community support and family support we received to put on the event."
Students had been training for the event for the past eight weeks, learning such things as how to pace yourself when running as well as injury prevention.
"We're trying to teach them lifelong fitness activities and how to stay in shape," Trimarco-Bugger said.
Beth Haden and her son, Haines eighth-grade student Ty Haden, decided to participate at the last minute.
"This is my first 5K," she said. "I wanted to encourage my son and give it a shot. The hardest part was trying to keep up with him."
Ty said he had some doubts whether he could finish the race until he saw his math teacher, who was also participating in the event.
"She kept me going," he said.