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Camas siblings set school running record

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Brady Marshall, left, and his older sister, Eliisa, sit in front of Dorothy Fox Elementary School's fitness leaderboard in September 2023. The siblings finished the mile run in 5 minutes, 45 seconds, as fifth-graders, tying for the school's record. (Contributed photo courtesy of Cathy Sork)

Six years apart, Eliisa Marshall and her younger brother Brady ran the exact same race at the exact same event in the exact same amount of time.

What are the odds?

Brady Marshall finished the mile run in 5 minutes, 45 seconds during Dorothy Fox’s annual Al Thompson Fifth-Grade Track Meet earlier this year, not only establishing a new school record for boys, but tying the girls’ mark, set by Eliisa Marshall in 2018.

“I didn’t really make the connection until our physical education teacher changed the board (to add Brady’s name),” Dorothy Fox Principal Cathy Sork said. “That’s when I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they got the exact same time.’ Both of those kids are just so unassuming, and they would never brag or put themselves out there or anything. But it’s kind of cool they left their legacy behind in a way that could live for a long time. They leave an incredible legacy as positive school citizens, strong students, and record-breaking runners.”

Eliisa not only broke the school mark that had been held by Lauren Oljar in 2005, but also the meet record that had been in place since 1964. Now a Camas High School junior, Eliisa has established herself as one of the top runners in Clark County. She competed in three events, including the 1,600-meter relay run in which the Papermakers took first place, at the 4A state track and field meet earlier this year.

Brady broke the boys’ school record that was held by Jacob Kemph since 2007, finishing the mile run in less than six minutes for the first time. He said that he felt “very nervous” on the day of the race, but was hoping to break his sister’s record.

“His peers were chanting (his name) from the stands, and he rose to the encouragement,” Sork said. “He was very relieved to have done well in the race with so many people cheering him on.”

According to longtime Dorothy Fox physical education coach Troy Dunn, fifth-grade students “rarely” run a mile in fewer than six minutes.

“Both of the (Marshall) kids are quiet and determined,” Dunn said. “They are goal oriented in breaking their personal records and improving their scores.”

The school puts a heavy emphasis on physical fitness, especially in the spring, according to Work.

“We do a jogging program at the end of the year for kids who want to run during recess,” Sork said. “We have kids that earn 70-plus miles in those last few weeks of school running on our track,so they have the conditioning to do well in the mile.”

Eliisa and Brady credited Andrew Miller, their fifth-grade math teacher, for their success. Miller, who traditionally runs with students during his prep time in an effort to motivate them, “helped both Marshalls to understand how to pace themselves for the mile,” according to Sork.

“(Andrew) reported that he took to the Dorothy Fox playground path and calculated true quarter-mile marks to help kids to focus on their pacing,” she added.

Both Marshalls “found more in themselves than they knew was there through running,” according to Miller, who added that they both showed a similar grit to “dig deep” and sprint the last quarter lap of their runs.

“(They are) talented in different ways, but being extremely humble,” Miller said. “(I’m) excited to see running unlock a new found confidence in both of the kids.”

Steve and Erin Marshall, Brady and Eliisa’s parents, said they are “very grateful” for the personal interest Miller took in their children.

“He believed in them and told each of them they could do it,” they said.

Brady and Eliisa said that they have a “healthy competition” at home.

“Brady looks up to his older sister, who does all that she can to help him with things but doesn’t like him to beat her in anything,” Sork said.