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Looming Middle School Budget Cuts Prompt ‘Save Our Sports’ Run

Lincoln, Calif. – When Tony Overbay, a Lincoln father of four, found out that his daughters’ sports programs will likely be cut next year because of budget woes, he immediately volunteered to run in the upcoming Save Our Sports 4.2-mile fun run to help raise money for Glen Edwards Middle School (GEMS).

But unlike every other participant, Overbay won’t begin on Saturday, May 14 at 8 am. Instead, he’ll start 24-hours earlier on the morning of Friday the 13th.

Hoping for some good luck, Overbay believes his unique effort will raise awareness and crucial funds for the school’s sports programs, many of which will likely be eliminated as budget cuts continue to crush California schools.

“My oldest daughter, Alexa, 13, is on the cross country team and my other daughter McKinley, 11, will attend GEMS – and hopefully run – next year,” Overbay said. “So when I heard about the run to raise money, I figured I’d let my legs do the talking.”

And I have two more kids that will eventually attend GEMS who are also interested in sports,”

Seasoned ultra-marathon runner

Overbay is a seasoned ultra-marathon runner who’s completed more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons – any distance of more than 26.2 miles – in 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 effort.

“When I drove home after volunteering, my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. By opening my mouth, I realized that I committed to not just showing up at the starting line, but to make it to the finish line as well,” Overbay said. “A DNF (Did not finish) is not an option because there are a lot of people counting on me.”

GEMS students and faculty will send Overbay off on Friday the 13th at 8 am and students will run with him during the day during PE classes. GEMS will host a fundraiser dinner on the track on Friday evening as Overbay continues to run throughout the night. He’ll finish his run with the 4.2 mile fun run on Saturday morning.

“I can’t wait to come out to support Tony,” said Denise Blackstock, one of the event’s organizers and head of GEMS Association of Parents Teachers Students (APTS). “I think this run/walk is a great way to raise money for the sports programs, especially since my daughter Taryn runs cross country and will run with Tony beginning at 2 am. I’ll be joining them.”

In additional to raising school funds, Overbay is also hoping to raise awareness of running for exercise.

“Foot for 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. And throughout the years, I’ve seen many friends improve their lives physically and mentally, just by running.”

Overbay, a licensed marriage and family therapist, often recommends running to his clients regardless of the issues that cause them to seek therapy.

“The science is conclusive: running – or any exercise for that matter – can really lift you out of a funk. That’s why I’m truly hoping that some of the kids and their parents that see me run will say, ‘If this old, bald guy can run for 24-hours straight, then maybe I can try it for a few minutes.’ 

“Hopefully then, they’ll make it a part of their life. I know people who simply started walking 30-seconds-a-day on a treadmill and now are accomplished marathon runners,” Overbay concluded.

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