An after-school running club in South City is teaching kids not only the importance of physical activity but also helps them see the finish line well beyond the race.

Corralling a group of kids after school can be tough, but one group of boys is more than willing to follow orders because they have goals to achieve.

The group called Pavement Pounders was formed at Carondelet Leadership Academy after a simple question.

“They said ‘why don’t we have anything after school?” said co-founder Angela Rineer.

Some of the boys were envious of their girl classmates who were part of Girls on the Run, a program that empowers girls through running.

“We wanted to create that same opportunity for the boys as the girls with that national program,” said Rineer.

Some teachers volunteer to help with the club after the final school bell rings.

Kids can’t wait for their two nights a week where they take off from school and run their city streets, challenging themselves to get faster. When they hit the sidewalk, you can’t miss their joy and determination.

“It gave strength and builds courage,” said fourth-grader Isaiah Cole.

Parents say it has been teaching their kids lessons outside the classroom.

“To be able to push through when they get tired or when they’re not sure they can. But that idea that the finish is there, really motivates them,” said parent Twearnier Wafford.

The kids spend months training for a 5K and when they cross the finish line, they learn hard work pays off.

“It’s creating a great environment for them to run and just feel good about themselves,” said Rineer and Stacey Launis, another co-founder.

Pavement Pounders also teaches kids about giving back to the community. The 5K they raced in benefits Saint Louis University’s Habitat for Humanity program.

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