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Queens Chronicle

Spartans in South Queens

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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:01 am, Thu Apr 24, 2014.

Last weekend’s annual Spartan Race at Citi Field went off without a hitch, with a little help from youngsters from Rhode Island who stayed, and dined, in South Queens.

The group came a day before Saturday’s race and help set up the physically challenging course.

The course, which athletes taking part have no knowledge of before the event, features “fire, water, barbed wire, and occasionally Hell on Earth,” according to the race’s promotional material.

To reward them for their help, the 15 teenagers, all students from Central Falls High School in Central Falls, Rhode Island — just north of Providence — and their chaperones were given lodging at Howard Beach’s Surfside Motel for the weekend, donated by the motel’s owner, Vincent Luccisano Jr. On Friday night, they were treated to dinner at Enzo’s Pizzeria in Ozone Park.

Then early Saturday morning, the teenagers took part in the race, hitting the course just before the Elite team.

The teenagers came to Queens as part of a program called Kids in the Canyon, an organization that has served Central Falls High School students for the past six years.

The program is designed to keep on the right path students who are at risk of dropping out of school for failing, or who need mentoring.

The program’s founder, Don Blais is also an avid outdoorsman and seeks to expose the students to activities like hiking and camping — and the Spartan race.

Fifteen other students in the program embarked on a weeklong hike of the Grand Canyon this month.

Amanda Sancler, who took part in the Spartan Race with her Tough Dolls team said the owners of the motel and pizzeria were glad to offer the teens lodging and dinner.

“They want to show they’re giving something back,” she said. “It’s a good thing.”

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