It was a marathon in miniature: On Friday, Mesquite Trails Elementary School students did laps around the school's fitness track, grabbing bottles of water as they raced past their starting point -- or walked, or jogged -- following in the footsteps of an Olympian.


Students spent a month collecting pledges for Friday's event. The Mesquite Trails Eagles then walked, jogged or ran for 30 minutes around the school's fitness track, as part of the second annual Bryan Clay Walk for Wellness at the school.


"The money we're raising today is helping to support programs here at our school," said Principal Dave Stewart, "And also go back to the Bryan Clay Foundation to provide scholarships for underprivileged students to go college, to go to higher education."


Clay, who won the gold medal in the decathlon in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, is a friend and former training partner of Stewart. Clay, who has appeared at other events at the school and in the Hesperia Unified School District in the past, was absent Friday.


"Today's a really great day," Stewart said. "Kids got a chance to learn about wellness."


There was more than just laps involved: Students also participated in essay, coloring and door-decorating contests.


"The big goal is not just to raise money, but also to raise awareness and make everyone think about making healthy choices," said Stewart.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star