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Running Raider Marathon Club coach Nic Weers, left, hands out awards Friday, Nov. 16, following the final run that completed the marathon distance for 62 area fifth and sixth graders.

      ANAMOSA - Nic Weers and his wife Heather have been passionate about the sport for running for a long, long time.

      Weers was a two-time 400-meter hurdles state champion during his time with the Anamosa High School program back in the mid 1990s, and even ran at the D-I level with the Iowa State Cyclones.

      Now that they’re back in Anamosa raising a family, the Weers’s decided they wanted to share their passion with the rest of the community and started the Running Raider Marathon Club back in 2014.

      Now five years later, it continues to benefit area youth, led by the motto ‘Refuse to be average.’

      “Heather had an idea five years ago and 10 marathons later look at what it has become,” said Nic Weers. “Last spring we had 85 elementary kids complete a marathon. Add on this fall’s 31 fifth and sixth graders and you get a total of 116 kids learning to become fearless and learning to step forward with confidence knowing they can accomplish anything if they work at it.”

      And work the kids did, running one mile a day for 26 days with the fifth and sixth grade group completing their journey Friday, Nov. 16, at the middle school, where Weers handed out awards to all.

      “The club keeps growing each year,” Weers said. “I cannot forget though when Heather and I wanted to start this club up. There were some who opposed it. Their message was very clear. ‘Kids that young can’t run that far and they shouldn’t be pushed to do it.’

      “So, it’s with a chip on my shoulder that I can confidently respond, ‘yes they can, and they can do it very well because they refuse to be average.’

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