STAFFORD, Va. — STAFFORD, Va. -- Kendra Lively's adapted P.E. students have a special place in her heart. Lively travels to several different schools around Stafford County and H.H. Poole Middle School is one of them.
"I just love them, I mean they're my kids when I'm not with my kids at home," said Lively.
All of the students in the class have a disability, but she focuses on the sports and exercises they can be successful with.
Their teacher, Amber Petty, also loves to watch them reach new limits.
"I don't think they realize how much they do and what they're capable of. This helps them realize they can do anything they set their mind to," said Petty.
This year, these students reached a new goal. They ran and walked what added up to 26.2 miles, a full marathon.
They did it with the help of a program called Achilles Kids "Run for Fun." The program is a virtual marathon. There is a route through Stafford County that introduces the kids to geography and history.
Each week the students do a number of laps on the track. Throughout the year, those laps are counted up and eventually add up to marathon length.
Along the way, students receive medals, t-shirts and other prizes to encourage them to keep going. Once they have reached the 26.2 miles, the program rewards them with a new pair of running shoes.
"A lot of kids start and it's difficult for them to even walk a lap. We see tremendous growth throughout the year and now many of them are able to walk three or four laps without stopping," said Lively.
Achilles Kids encourages students to work on setting both short and long-term goals for themselves. It's a challenge their teacher says they have taken head on, one step at a time.
"People think just because they have disabilities they can't do things that people without disabilities can do and that's just not true. They can probably do more, they're just a little different," said Petty.