DeKalb freshman sets her sights on raising money at Dallas marathon

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By Heather Russell
Staff Reporter

A DeKalb High School student is preparing to run her first half-marathon, and is doing it to support a very worthy cause.  Stephanie Studdard, a freshman at DHS, discovered her talent and love for running a couple of years ago, and since then has not looked back.  She has run several 5k’s and 10k’s, including Christian Warrior Texarkana, Relay for Life, and DeKalb Oktoberfest, and was a regional qualifier for DeKalb High School’s Cross Country team, where she finished 50th of around 200 runners.  Her first half-marathon, the Toyota Rock and Roll Marathon, will be run in Dallas on March 25, 2018 and will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Stephanie says that it is her competitive spirit and love for running that inspired her to do the half-marathon, but she also feels she will be raising money for a great charity.  “You never know when me or my friends or family might need St. Jude’s.  They help so many people, and I will be proud to help them, too,” said the determined teen.  You see, Stephanie could have opted to pay an $85 entry fee in order to participate in the marathon, but instead she chose to set her fundraising goal at $500, and is hoping to convince local citizens and businesses to sponsor her venture.  

Stephanie plans to run several local 5k’s in the next couple of months to prepare for her upcoming race.  On December 9, 2017 she ran the Santa Sprint 2017 in Texarkana and not only placed first in her age division, she won first overall female.  She gets tips, encouragement, and a little friendly competition from her personal trainer Andrew Chasteen, former New Boston ISD track and cross country coach.  Chasteen is currently head cross country coach for both the boys and girls teams at Genoa High School, both of whom won Arkansas State Cross Country Championships this year.  He has run several races with Stephanie, and will also compete along side her in the St. Jude’s half marathon.  He says Stephanie is a natural talent.  “I first noticed her when I was coaching her in seventh grade at New Boston.  I started to see her talent develop in the 800 meter run, so I put her in the mile relay, and then the high jump and no matter what I put her in, she excelled at it,” says Chasteen.  “I knew then we had a really good athlete here.”

If you would like to sponsor Stephanie in her upcoming race, visit www.fundraising.stjude.org.  Click on ‘Find a Participant’ in the upper right corner, then search Stephanie’s name.  This will take you directly to her fundraising page.  Or you may call her mother, Candice Oakes at (903)306-8246 for more information.  The Toyota Rock and Roll Marathon is an official St. Jude’s Research Hospital fundraiser, and all proceeds benefit St. Jude’s.  

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