Running with the best |

Running with the best

Roseann Keegan
Annie Flanzraich / Tahoe Daily TribuneSeth Martin, a 2003 graduate of California State University, Sacramento, was named Teacher of the Year during the 2010 Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports awards.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Last year, physical education teacher Seth Martin said he was “begging” for money to buy t-shirts for student track meets.

This year, thanks to a $10,000 award from the state, the district’s lead elementary P.E. teacher is looking forward to buying exercise mats to replace carpet squares the kids use for sit-ups and stretches, portable disc golf targets to teach children how to throw a Frisbee, and other items to boost kids’ health, coordination and productivity.

“I have a wish list of things in my head,” said Martin, who works at Tahoe Valley Elementary School. “I have the opportunity to restock and revamp everything I have. This is basically my budget for the next three years.”

Last week, Martin was named Teacher of the Year during the 2010 Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports awards. He was honored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and council chairman Jake Steinfeld (of “Body by Jake”) during an awards ceremony in Sacramento Sept. 17.

The Spotlight Awards recognize the efforts of principals, teachers, nonprofit organizations, events, park programs, parent associations and schools that positively impact the physical activity, fitness levels and well-being of California children, according to a release ￿from the governor’s office.

The winning schools and medalists, including Martin, were selected from 2,425 nominations based on their use of innovation, inspiration and initiative to motivate California students to be physically active.

On Oct. 8, a representative from the council will present Martin with the $10,000 check, and students will participate in the council’s “Live Like a Champ” tour, which offers rotating fitness stations.

Martin and his students have been in the news several times this year for their accomplishments.

In March, Martin had his head shaved in front of the student body in support of 11-year-old Bailey Johnson, a Tahoe Valley student and cancer survivor who shaved his head later that day at a fundraiser for childhood cancer.

In June, Martin announced that the “Morning Milers,” an a.m. running club at the school, had logged 350 miles on the Tahoe Valley track: the equivalent of running to Los Angeles. One of the most dedicated milers was third-grader student Izaiah Perez, who had logged nearly 20 miles.

Martin and his wife brought Perez to the awards ceremony last week.

While running with his students, Martin said he was reminded that he should be exercising more, too.

“This summer I ran close to 200 miles,” said Martin, who will run the 13.1-mile Lake Tahoe Half Marathon on Sunday. “I’m helping (the students), and they’re helping me.”￿

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