Mustang Strength and Speed 5K Challenge Raises Spirits, Heart Rates, and Funds

Shannon Beck

Students, teachers, Mustang fans, and families all helped raise money for the Mustang Strength and Speed Program by participating in a 5K challenge. This challenge started when a Mustang supporter brought the idea to physical education teacher Preston Pedersen. For each student that completed a 5K, the anonymous supporter pledged to donate $10. “I thought it was an awesome idea and a great way to unify Mustangs through a shared goal,“ said Pedersen. 

Students participated by running around town then taking a picture of their watch and sending it to coach Pedersen. “What pushed me was because it was just a really simple way to give back. Coach Pedersen does so much for our sports and our school,” said senior Nolan Brand. “When someone would donate $10, it’s the least I could do.”

Lots of students and other community members participated in the 5K. “My favorite part about participating in the 5K was getting to spend some extra time with my mom and have some fun,” said senior Cate Morgan. “Partway through the 5K, it started to downpour on us, so we just goofed around and had a good time while getting soaked,” she said. Morgan decided to document her experience by making a fun Tik Tok about it.

Mustangs helping Mustangs is the norm, and because of that, students get the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

— Coach Preston Pedersen

“I am humbled and proud to live in such an awesome community. I think the thing that separates Mount Vernon from a lot of communities is all the love and support for each other,” said coach Pedersen. “Mustangs helping Mustangs is the norm, and because of that, students get the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

Mount Vernon High School’s director of student support Leigh Ann Erickson, not only ran the 5K but she also started her own challenge. For 10 students that beat her 5K time, she donated $5 to the Mustang Strength and Speed Program. 

With the help of the community of Mount Vernon and a generous supporter, $1335.00 was raised for the Mustang Strength and Speed program. One hundred thirty students and almost 50 adults participated. “My motivation for completing the challenge was simple. For the last four years, coach Pedersen and the strength program has given and supported me so much. Completing the 5K was the least I could do to give back to the program that helped me get to where I am today,” said Morgan.

With the money that was raised from the 5K challenge, Pedersen hopes to get more plyometric hurdles to help students improve their explosiveness, large resistance bands to help students work on their acceleration, and mini loop bands to help prevent injury by strengthening the hips and core. “If we have any funds after that I would like to purchase some different self-massage options to help students with post-workout recovery or pre-competition activation options,” said Pedersen.