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Ceres High classmates complete Modesto Marathon
The pain was excruciating.

Ceres High senior Jasmine Serrano had to seek medical treatment following the completion of the grueling race.

"After the 17th mile, my whole right knee and leg were shot," said Serrano, who limped across the finish line. "But I wasn't going to give up on myself and everyone who helped me through this."

Serrano and fellow Bulldogs Liana Acosta, Graciela Conchas, Julia Chipres and Natalie Demag participated in the Modesto Marathon on March 20.

Serrano, Chipres, Conchas and Acosta completed the full marathon, which consisted of 26.2 miles.

Liana, Graciela, Julia and Jasmine finished 25th (5:48.08), 32nd (6:55.01), 33rd (7:02.54) and 34th (7:14.36), respectively, in the 19-and-under Female Division.

Demag did the half marathon (13.1 miles). She took 57th (4:07.27).

Serrano, Chipres, Conchas, Acosta and Demag decided to sign up for the marathon after being recruited by Ceres High teacher Sue Garcia. She posted an announcement in the school's daily bulletin.

Serrano, Chipres, Conchas and Acosta are in Garcia's aerobics class.

"Less than one percent of Americans compete in a marathon in a year," said Sue, who served as site coach for the five Ceres girls. "It's one of the greatest physical challenges people put on their bodies. It's not about the time. It's about completion."

Serrano, Chipres, Conchas, Acosta and Demag started preparing for the Modesto Marathon in September. They completed a 26-week training regimen provided by the Teens Run Modesto program.

"Their bodies are still recovering," Garcia said.

Added Serrano: "It took a lot of time, patience and hard work."

Garcia provided encouragement at the Modesto Marathon. She rode her bicycle alongside Ceres High's runners during miles 12 through 18.

Serrano finished last overall. The competition had over 2,200 participants.

Jasmine labored in the rain and wind for seven-plus hours.

Serrano used crutches when she returned to school the next week.

"As soon as I heal, I'm definitely going to sign up for more marathons," said Jasmine, who sustained a stress fracture in her right foot and damage to her knee. "This gives me motivation. It's the biggest accomplishment I could have made."

"It was inspirational for what she did," Garcia said. "She never thought about stopping even though she was hurt."