RALEIGH (WTVD) -- It takes discipline to get up each morning and exercise. Typically that's not something all middle schoolers are interested in doing. One group in a north Raleigh neighborhood is bucking the trend thanks to an ambitious mom.
Marion Dewar wants to give her boys a sense of purpose each morning.
"I started making them run two miles a day before they did screens. That's just the way we started the day for emotional reasons, health reasons, they were going to run cross country. They didn't like it but they did it."
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To sweeten the pot, she extended the invitation to fellow neighborhood kids who wanted to join the sweat and the fun. The only requirement? Arrive at 8 a.m. sharp.
What started with a few kids grew quickly to double digits.
"A lot of them stay up late at night and sleep in until 9 or 10. They're not forced to come, their parents aren't paying for them to come, their parents don't make them come. They have to get themselves up and start at eight."
12-year-old Oliver Corson says it's hard to get up in the morning but he's glad to be a part of the group.
"I like it because you get to go outside. Because quarantine and stuff we don't usually get to go outside very much and I get to hang out with my friends in the neighborhood."
The youngsters keep coming back. Not only to pound the pavement but for the hangout session that follows. Marion gives them a cold drink and allows them to visit and play games at her house.
"I didn't know if I would do it again this year because it's a lot of time, but by popular demand."
And it's evolved beyond running. "Some days we have a bike day, some days we have swim day to try and mix it up a bit to keep them interested."
Her 13-year-old son Josh likes the push to get out of the house.
"It helped me get off video games all day and actually still be social and it was helping all my friends get off video games, I guess," said Josh.
If good health and camaraderie aren't enough, there's an additional incentive.
"I treat them to a treat on Friday. So if they come and run all week on Friday I get donuts for them, take them to chick fa lay just give them something fun to incentive them but the amazing thing is it's a need because so many kids came out."
Marion has had to turn away elementary-age kids who are wanting to join, keeping it to middle school youngsters for now. The eldest of her three sons is an all American runner in high school so the group has something to aspire to.
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