Stories And Inspiration

GO FAR Inspires Principal to Run First 5K

Submitted by Anonymous on Nov 10th 2015 - 8:00AM. | Perma Link


When principal Todd Cayton witnessed his first GO FAR race last fall, he was inspired by his school’s students and wanted to be part of it. The Jamestown Elementary principal made plans to run the spring 5K with his students.

“There was a strong sense of community among the students, the many faculty members who were involved, and the parents who participated,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of that community and to challenge myself to make positive changes through running.”

Cayton had never been a runner and wasn’t much on exercise really, going through spells of activity that included walking.

“I was impressed with how serious the students took this and how supportive they were of each other,” he said. “This was a big deal to them. They were excited to run for themselves but seemed just as excited for each other.”

Health problems put those plans on hold though and while it took time and work, Cayton is staying true to his word. This Saturday, he’ll finally get to run the 5K with his students.

Before training ever began for the spring race, Cayton began to feel tired and short of breath. He couldn’t sleep because he felt like he was suffocating and began gasping for air.

Diagnosis was difficult due to Cayton’s age. He knew heart problems ran in his family. He was eventually diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic and a later heart catheterization revealed viral congestive heart failure.

“My heart’s ejection fraction was only 12 to 15 percent of the blood being pumped out of the ventricle,” he said. “It should have been pumping 60 to 75 percent. This meant that I was likely facing a defibrillator being inserted, having to wear a heart pump, or more likely getting a heart transplant.”

Cayton made big changes in his lifestyle, including diet and exercise. He has completed 36 weeks of cardiac rehab, lost 70 pounds, seen an increase in heart function to nearly 50 percent, and normalized his blood sugar.

Cayton also didn’t forget about running. “When I started running some in August, I was not sure that I would achieve the goal of completing a 5K,” he said. “Now it is possible for sure. My stamina continues to improve, my breathing is much better, and I feel stronger each day.”

He looks forward to running the GO FAR race this Saturday with his students. He has practiced with them this fall when his job gives him the chance, and on his own when it doesn’t. “It is certainly easier with students because they provide inspiration.”Jamestown_practice

He runs on a treadmill 45 minutes twice a week and knows the race will be different. Still he’s been an encouragement to his team.

Beth Phillips, GO FAR coordinator for the school, said having Cayton join this year has added to the excitement and motivates the kids. They like running with him.

“I think to have the principal participate, it just brings value to the team,” she said.

Some kids were surprised when they heard Cayton would be participating. “I never thought Mr. Cayton was going to do it,” said fifth-grader DeS’hawn Brown. “I thought he was so busy doing class stuff. I think it’s good. He can take a break from class, have fun with the kids.”

Cayton sets quite the work ethic too. Fifth-grader Allison Maloney said he still makes you follow rules.

“He works hard,” said third-grader Ariana Boyce. “When we’re running, he never stops. He’s focused.”

“Every time at the end of practice, he smiles,” Brown said. "We tell him ‘great job."

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