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Foothill teachers run “Mountains2Beach” marathon for Prewitt

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Foothill teachers run “Mountains2Beach” marathon for Prewitt

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[dropcap size=dropcap]F[/dropcap]oothill teachers gathered at Django’s coffee house in Ojai on Sunday, ready to complete the “Mountains2Beach” marathon in memory of Chris Prewitt. Supporters and teachers ran a trail that started in the mountains of Ojai and finished at the Ventura pier.

Prewitt had been training for the marathon for months. A previous teacher of Foothill and the assistant principal of Deanza, he was well-loved by the Ventura community.

Prewitt was killed on April 6, 2014 while he was jogging. He was hit by a driver by the name of Shante Chappell who was allegedly under the influence of Xanex.

Foothill teachers Karen Rodrigues, Bill Huffman, Melissa Wantz, Wendy Dowler, Rick Villano, Emily Hunt, Darcy Duffy, Emily Stevens, Jason Dinkler, Spencer Kellogg, Ken Reeves, and Cherie Eulau all ran in separate teams to support Prewitt.

Foothill teachers, in matching blue "Do It For Prewitt" shirts, all ran legs of the marathon. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Foothill teachers, in matching blue “Do It For Prewitt” shirts, all ran legs of the marathon. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

They all wore blue shirts with picture of Prewitt blowing a kiss on the front. The shirts read, “#DOITFORPREWITT” and “Until we meet again, never goodbye, see you later.”

“I was going to go watch him [run] anyway. It was on my calendar to go today, and then when the opportunity came up to participate it just seemed like a no-brainer. I just didn’t give it a second thought,” teacher Cherie Eulau said of her participation.

Each team of runners passed off one of Prewitt’s shoes with his pedometer in it, relay-race style, to help him finish the race.

“For me, it’s commemorating and finishing something that he was training for. He was killed while he was training to do this marathon, so that made sense,” Foothill teacher Cherie Eulau said.

Physical Education teacher Emily Stevens said she felt honored to be a part of the team.

“I decided to participate to support Chris Prewitt’s family and friends, and just to run in his honor. To me, it’s an honor to be out here doing the race that he would of done. You have to do stuff like this, to get through the grief,” Stevens said. “I’m amped up. I’m ready.”

 

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Foothill assistant principal Carlos Cohen said he was excited to celebrate Prewitt’s life.

“Chris was a friend… this is just a great way to support Mr. Prewitt and his family, just really support our colleagues too. It’s a great way to just say, ‘Let’s have a great day for a great guy. Let’s break a sweat for him,’” Cohen said.

Foothill students also volunteered at Aid Station 7 on Sulphur Moutain, about 14 miles into the race. Energy was high as Coach Reeves prepped the station with water and “fluid,” a pomegranate-blueberry performance drink, early in the morning.

As the first runner came through, Reeves shouted, “Alright, let’s get ready here, folks!”

Teams of Foothill students filled up the water cups, handed them out on the side of the road, and picked up the cups that the runners dropped.

Foothill teachers and students handed out water and electrolyte "fluid" at the aid station. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Foothill teachers and students handed out water and “fluid” at the aid station. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press.

After the first runner had passed, Reeves jokingly said, “Alright, that’s enough, let’s go home!”

Reeves continued to offer support and motivation to the runners and volunteers alike, encouraging them to keep their spirits high.

“And the crowd goes crazy! We need some more enthusiasm. Pretend like your teacher told you not to talk in class,” Reeves called, asking the students to motivate the runners.

Everyone at the station cheered. Calls of “Fluid,” “Water,” “My man, looking good, take some fluid,” and “You look great, you look beautiful, keep going” were frequent. Several runners thanked the volunteers for their enthusiasm, saying they were the “best yet” of the Aid Stations and won the “award” for best spirit.

“I wanted to get involved. I think it’s fun to volunteer, and with these [races] it’s really fun to help people feel better as they’re running,” freshman volunteer Stephanie Gallegos said.

 

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“I decided because next year, I’m going to be on the Foothill Cross Country team and this helps get money for our team to pay for uniforms and stuff,” Ramirez said.

As they waited for their turn to run the relay and pass on the shoe, Stevens, Kellogg, and Cohen jumped in to help out the volunteers, pouring cups of water and unpacking the boxes of supplies as more and more runners passed by.

 

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“You guys came for the run, and you get to work the Aid Station,” Reeves said tongue-in-cheek, thanking the teachers for their help.

About 2 and a half hours into the race, Aid Station 7 was running low on water. Students went to pick up more as volunteers said they were worried about running completely out.  

The teachers also expressed surprise when they heard that the Foothill team was behind schedule.

Foothill Assistant Principle Carlos Cohen high-fives English teacher Jason Dinkler and P.E. teacher Emily Stevens. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

Foothill Assistant Principal Carlos Cohen high-fives English teacher Jason Dinkler and P.E. teacher Emily Stevens. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

“They’re getting close, I can feel it. My bones are starting to hurt,” Cohen said.

“Some of us are runners, some us are joggers, and some of us are walkers. Hopefully none of us are crawlers.”

A few minutes later, Dinkler, Duffy, Eulau and Villano ran through. Dinkler passed off Prewitt’s shoe, and the relay continued.

“Ahhh! Here we go! Tally-ho!” Cohen shouted as he ran off to complete his leg of the race.

Izzy and Erin Prewitt, Prewitt’s daughter and wife, received the shoe last and carried it across the finish line, finishing Prewitt’s long-trained-for marathon and commemorating all that he had worked for.

Despite the race being over, Cohen asserted that Prewitt’s friends, family, and community would continue on in his name.

“We’re commemorating him, but it’s also we’re finishing what he started. And I don’t think this is a race that’s gonna finish today when the pedometer and that shoe crosses [the finish line],” Cohen said. “I think that it’s something that’s going to continue. We’re going to keep on running.”

Foothill teachers and community supporters ran the “Mountains2Beach” marathon in honor of Chris Prewitt on Sunday. Prewitt was training to run the 26-mile race when he was fatally hit by a car. Supporters finished the race for him by carrying Prewitt’s shoe and pedometer through the race.

Foothill teachers and community supporters ran the “Mountains2Beach” marathon in honor of Chris Prewitt on Sunday. Prewitt was training to run the 26-mile race when he was fatally hit by a car. Supporters finished the race for him by carrying Prewitt’s shoe and pedometer through the race.

http://storify.com/FTHSDragonPress/mountains2beach-marathon

 Storify Credit: Fidelity Ballmer/The Foothill Dragon Press

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Foothill teachers run “Mountains2Beach” marathon for Prewitt