Sutter Middle School cross country team has special visitor at practice

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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A large and enthusiastic group of about 60 middle school runners from Sutter Middle School got to meet a top-three finisher in the Boston Marathon last week.

Folsom’s Shadrack Biwott, whose son, Xavier, is a sixth grader at the school, visited cross country practice last week to talk with the team.

First-year coach Katie Zumalt was thrilled to have Biwott speak to the team.

“We asked him to talk to the team about what it’s like to be a professional runner and the traits necessary to be a good runner,” Zumalt said. “The kids loved it. They were asking him for his autograph.”

Biwott finished third in the Boston Marathon earlier this year, after placing fourth in 2017. Biwott talked about his journey as a runner, and the importance of eating right, stretching and all the things vital to being a successful runner, including having a positive attitude.

After speaking to the team, he stayed and watched the kids run during practice, as they ran a mile time trial. The athletes ran the mile at the beginning of the cross country season and now ran it again at the end. The average improvement from their mile run at the beginning of the season to now was 50 seconds. 

“It’s been a good season,” said Zumalt, who is a 2017 graduate of Folsom High where she ran on the cross country and track teams. “We were focusing on the kids having fun, doing their best and motivating and supporting their teammates. Most of the team is sixth graders who are new to running, but they all seem to love it.”