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Originally published November 27, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Page modified November 27, 2010 at 9:47 PM

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Kids brave the chill to finish hospital marathon

Some 2,000 youngsters ran the Seattle Children's Kids Marathon at Seattle Center on Saturday morning.

Seattle Times staff reporter

"I ran it the whole way!" Savannah Chrismer announced after she and her mom ran 1.2 miles around Seattle Center in the Seattle Children's Kids Marathon on Saturday.

Savannah, a 5-year-old kindergartner from West Woodland Elementary School in Seattle, had worked hard for the event, following her mother's advice: "My mom told me to run laps at school."

And then it was time for a reward. When Savannah said she didn't know what she would do with the rest of the day, her mom, Alycia Prather, asked: "Maybe a little burger?"

Savannah nodded vigorously.

Prather's suggestion that Savannah run laps before the Kids Marathon is the same advice the run sponsor, Seattle Children's Hospital, and numerous area schools gave to the 2,000 children and their adult companions as they prepared for the event over the previous six to eight weeks.

The idea was to run 25 miles, a mile at a time, and then finish the 26.2-mile "marathon" Saturday.

Undaunted by chilly weather, the young runners were cheered on by supporters carrying signs with messages like, "Run Ben Run," and "Whittier Wildcats."

A contingent of 75 children plus their parents wore red "Team Moneda" shirts in honor of Loyal Heights Elementary teacher Sally Moneda, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Seventy-five adults in Team Moneda plan to run again Sunday in the Seattle Marathon.

"We trained every Saturday, and every Saturday she came out with us" — even after Moneda received chemotherapy, said Team Moneda member Tracey Pierce.

Pierce's daughter Abby, a 7-year-old second-grader, ran her first Kids Marathon on Saturday but doesn't think she'll do it again. "It was scary being with all those people," said Abby, who started near the front of the pack on Fifth Avenue.

She was afraid she would trip over someone's feet, but that didn't happen. Abby ran all the way around Seattle Center.

Among the very first to finish the noncompetitive run was Jackson Morgan, 11, a fifth-grader who attends View Ridge Elementary. He participated in last month's 10-kilometer Dawg Dash and ran a mile a day to get ready for the event.

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"I just do it for fun," said Jackson, who isn't part of an organized running team.

Not long after he finished, his 8-year-old sister Malia crossed the finish line. She has done three 5K runs, and as for the remainder of Saturday, she said, "I have three soccer games today."

Jackson and Malia's younger sister, Gabi, 5, also ran the marathon. "They're having fun — they take after their mom," said their dad, John Morgan.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

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