Greenbelt Elementary School Rafael’s Race
Rafael Martins was a student at Greenbelt Nursery School and Greenbelt Elementary School. He was born with a rare disease called VATER syndrome and passed away on October 20, 2009 while he was in 4th grade. In 2011, the teachers, parents, and friends of the Greenbelt Elementary School started a race in honor of him. It is called Rafael’s Race and it raises funds to support student field trips. This year, the second annual Rafael’s Race took place on October 20.
Rafael’s Race is on October 20.
A 5K run and a 1K run-walk are offered. The registration fee is $20 for the 5K and $10 for the 1K.
The event is run by Prince George’s County Running Club.
Runners at the registration table
Photographs of Rafael are projected on the screen.
Karen Yoho, the PTA president, with her daughter Mary Alyce. T-shirts and raffle tickets are for sale.
Mayor Judith Davis buys tickets.
Tying timing chips to shoe laces
The 1K run/walk starts at 8:40 a.m.
Beth Hancock, 4th grade teacher at GES and coordinator for Rafael’s Race, explains the route.
The 1K runners and walkers will go down Laurel Hill Road, turn right on Hillside Road, right on Research Road, and then right on Ridge Road to return to the school.
Off they go.
George Hoskey is dressed as the mascot of Orleans Firebirds of Cape Cod Baseball League.
The runners return.
5K runners prepare for their race in front of the school.
Starting from Greenbelt Elementary School, the runners will go down to the Greenbelt Lake, run one lap around it, and then return.
The runners are ready.
Off they go. Here wearing number 236 is Ted Poulos of McLean, Virginia. He won both the Greenbelt Nursery School Tortoise and Hare 5K in May and the SIDS 5K in September. Both races took place at Greenbelt Lake.
Ted Poulos leads the race at the wooden bridge along Stream Valley Path. He will be the overall winner with a time of 18:36.
A runner enters the tunnel under Hillside Road.
Prisca Mpanda is the first female runner. She will finish with 20:31.
Vanderlei Martins is Rafael’s father.
From left Aurora Ziobrowski, Bernard Kelly, and Keith Evans cheer the runners on.
Ziobrowski, a 4th grade teacher at GES, points the direction for a runner.
At the finish line Izunna (age 7, 3rd grade) and his family members wait for his sister to finish.
Turning in the timing chip
Jennifer (age 9, 4th grade) enjoys some popcorns.
Karen Yoho sells more raffle tickets.
Rafael Martins’s family. From left are Vanderlei (father), Lucas (1 year and 5 months), Bela (9, 3rd grade) and Marines (mother).
Lucy Dirksen shares her memories of Rafael. She says that Rafael and her son grew up together, and she remembers the last school trip during which the group saw a bald eagle. “He has always had vitality and an amazing spirit.”
Dirksen hands the overall winner Ted Poulos his prize.
Dirksen hugs the top female finisher Prisca Mpanda.
Sebastian Fernandez is first in the 12-and-under boys category.
Janice Uthe is first in the 50-to-59 women category.
The Dabelko family
Maureen Mershon wins the 70-and-older category.
Every child who finished the 5K race receives a T-shirt. Here are the three gold medal winners.
Silver medal winners
Bronze medal winners. The other children receive T-shirts with a smiley face.
Next, prize winners are drawn. Here the first prize winner (right) receives a weekend stay at Ocean City.
The next winner wins two Redskins tickets (November 4 against Carolina Panthers) and an autographed photo of Brian Orakpo (linebacker).
Children check their tickets intently.
Rafael (left) and his sister Bela (right) visiting a friend in Colorado
Rafael’s father Vanderlei Martins thanks everybody for participating in the race and for helping out. “Today is the anniversary of Rafael’s death, and there is no better way to celebrate his life than this race.”
Emma with Lucas
Sign for Rafael’s Race at Ridge Road and Laurel Hill Road