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Elementary school track team holds shoe drive to keep runners from competing in slippers

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Part of the drive to decrease childhood obesity and improve general fitness among children is a push to encourage organized athletics at an even younger age. One California elementary school is all for that, except for one problem: Their students don't have the right shoes to wear on the track.

As reported by Bakersfield ABC affiliate KERO, the East Bakersfield (Calif.) Fremont Elementary School track team attends competitive school meets approximately every two weeks, but many of its athletes don't have actual running shoes to wear. Instead, as Fremont coach Marcel Guerra told KERO, they're forced to run in slippers, Vans skate sneakers or anything else they can find at home.

"A lot of times at our track meets, our students are running in house slippers, Converse, Vans, anything they have," Guerra told KERO. "I hear like 'Mr. G my knees are hurting, Mr. G my ankles hurt.'"

Given the severe financial limits of the families of Guerra's athletes, the coach said it was unrealistic to expect them to be able to all provide proper shoes for after school track, particularly during harder economic times.

That's why the 60-member team launched a public donation drive, looking for shoes, socks and monetary contributions from the greater community. Further information about how to donate to the drive can be found right here courtesy KERO.

And what would happen if the runners actually got the shoes they need?

"I have students who win races with Converse shoes on so I can't imagine how good they'd do with actual running shoes," said Guerra.

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