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GEMS parents, students and staff rally to Save Our Sports

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Tony Overbay, a Lincoln father of four, will enter the Save Our Sports 4.2 mile fun run on Saturday May 14 at Glen Edwards Middle School (GEMS). Overbay, however, won’t begin his run at Saturday’s 8 a.m. starting time along with the other runners; he’ll start 24 hours earlier on Friday May 13, just after school starts. Overbay is hoping to raise awareness, and also funds, for the school’s sports programs, which could be eliminated as budget cuts continue to hit California schools. “My oldest daughter, Alexa, 13, is on the cross country team and my daughter, Mckinley, 11, will attend GEMS next year and she wants to run, too. I have two more kids who will eventually attend GEMS, who are also interested in sports,” Overbay said. “When I heard about the meeting a few weeks ago that was being held with the goal of coming up with some new fundraising ideas, I thought I’d put my legs where my mouth was.” Overbay is a seasoned ultra-marathon runner. An ultra-marathon is any race longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Overbay has completed more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons over the last 20 years. But despite his race resume, which includes the Western States and Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance runs as well as the Boston Marathon, he’s still nervous to take on this 24-hour run. “When I drove home from the meeting, after volunteering to run, my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest,” Overbay said. “It wasn’t until later that I realized by opening my mouth, I was committed to not just showing up at the starting line but also at the finish line. A DNF (‘did not finish’) is not an option. There will be a lot of people counting on me.” According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, significant health benefits can be obtained by including a moderate amount of physical activity (i.e. 30 minutes of brisk walking or raking leaves, 15 minutes of running, 45 minutes of playing volleyball). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity. Glen Edwards Middle School students and faculty plan on sending Overbay off on May 13 at 8 a.m. Students will run with him during the day in their P.E. classes. GEMS is planning a fundraising dinner at the track on Friday night and Overbay will continue to run through the night, finishing the run with the 4.2 mile fun on Saturday morning. “I can’t wait to come and support Tony,” said Denise Blackstock, one of the event’s organizers and the Glen Edwards Middle School’s Association of Parents, Teachers, Students president. “I think this GEMS run/walk is a great way to raise money for the sports programs. My daughter, Taryn, runs cross country, and she wants to run with Tony at 2 a.m., and I’ll be joining her.” In addition to raising funds, Overbay hopes to raise awareness of running. “Foot by foot, mile for mile, minute for minute, I believe running is the best exercise one can do to increase health and fitness,” Overbay said. “All you need is a pair of shoes and you can run anywhere. I’ve run all over the world on vacations and business trips. I’ve seen many friends throughout the years pick up running and the difference it makes in their lives, both physically and mentally.” “The science is there, running, or any other exercise for that matter, can really lift you up out of a funk,” Overbay said. “I’m truly hoping that some of the kids, and their parents learn about the run and will say that if this old, bald guy can run for 24 hours straight, then maybe I can try it for a few minutes. Hopefully, running will become a part of their life.” Follow Overbay through his training for the event by signing up for the Saturday run, either as a runner, a volunteer or by making a donation. Visit supportgemssports.com for more information. And cheer on Overbay on May 13 and May 14 as he runs the GEMS track for 24 hours. Food and festivities will be going on the night of May 13. Adults are $20 and Kids Fun Run is $10. All proceeds will go to Save Our Sports.