Hundreds of children sprinted on the all-weather track at the Lee DaSilva Field as parents, teachers, school district administrators and staff cheered on. The 20th annual Rotary/Netherton Relays included races for first through sixth graders and teams from 18 Madera Unified School District schools.
Every section of every lane had a child wearing their school’s apparel and waiting to either start the race or receive a baton from a teammate to run the next leg of the relay. Rotary Club member Carles Beckett, who signaled the start of each race Friday, instructed and encouraged every group of children as they took their designated places.
Beckett has helped organize the races for decades.
“There are a lot of people who are in the stands now who ran these races when they were children. There is a lot of pride in this. These medals, a lot of these kids sleep with them. It’s a big deal to them. And if they get a shirt, they save them over the years and they wear them. It has a lot of significance, and when they get older they’ll never forget the relays,” said Beckett...