Stanley Switlik Elementary is home to a new court of distance running kings and queens. On Nov. 17, elite runners from the preliminary rounds of each grade level’s jog-a-thon sessions competed for bragging rights and a place in school history. At the conclusion of the “run-off,” the school counted each competitor’s completed laps to crown the fastest two boys and girls from each grade level – with plenty of ties to go around. Winners will be awarded a medal and a new pair of running shoes at the Switlik jog-a-thon assembly, set for Friday, Jan. 12.

A Switlik staple for more than 30 years, the annual fundraiser nets tens of thousands of dollars each year for classroom supplies and field trip expenses, all while promoting physical activity and giving youngsters with a competitive edge a moment to shine.

Photos by GINGER SAYER/Contributed

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.