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Valley Teachers to Honor Memory of Colleague at Cinco de Mayo Trail Run

Trailblazer Hilary Cuevas-Balanon and a crew of about 15 teachers will run Saturday to honor Valley Elementary’s former reading specialist.

If you’re heading to the Cinco de Mayo Trail Run this Saturday, you’re sure to spot Hilary Cuevas-Balanon with her crew―just look for the sky-blue T-shirts.

A teacher at , Cuevas-Balanon and about 15 of her colleagues will be dressed to honor Carleen Walda, Valley’s reading specialist who passed away in September 2011 from ovarian cancer.

“So every teacher who will be running this Saturday will be running for her,” Cuevas-Balanon said of her group. “We chose sky blue because it is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.”

In the past, the Trail Run has been used as a way to honor other members of the community―like Poway High School senior Chelsea King in 2010, when the event saw 1,000 runners.

Cuevas-Balanon, who started out having to walk the trails but can now run a 10K in 55 minutes, says this year she hopes to improve her time even more. To prep for the race, she’s tried to lead the other teachers in Wednesday training sessions after school.

“It was a challenge to try and get the teachers to focus because they’re very stressed and they’re very busy,” she said. “I know (running) has helped relieve my stress. I hope the teachers see how much I’m improving and that it helps encourage them.”

But numbers definitely aren’t everything.

“My mantra is just never give up. Never, ever give up,” Cuevas-Balanon said. “I had that on my bib last year.”

Pre-registration fees range from $10 to $35 at cincodemayotrailrun.org. The money raised will go toward the Valley Elementary Educational Foundation.

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