Lompoc firefighter John Steffens and Cabrillo High senior Corrin Juré.
Lompoc firefighter John Steffens has helped prepare Cabrillo High senior Corrin Juré to run a marathon from the high school to Jalama Beach Park on Sunday.  The run is Juré‘s senior project. (Khrystal Juré photo)

The senior class projects at Cabrillo High School require four parts known as the Four P’s: paper, product, portfolio and presentation.

You could add a fifth “P” to the project Corrin Juré chose to do. And that would be for “pain.”

He’s going to run a marathon.

“I’m a runner, it’s the only thing I’m good at,” said Corrin, who has been a 4-year member of the school’s cross country and track teams. “(A marathon) is the peak of running and the ultimate challenge. I should do it while I’m young and healthy, do it while I can.”

It’s a huge step from running 3-mile cross country races and the 3,200 and 1,600 meters in track meets.

He enlisted the help of Lompoc firefighter John Steffens to train him. Steffens, 50, has run more than 20 marathons, including the Chicago Marathon last November.

“Corrin asked me to be his mentor,” Steffens said. “We’ve been training for about five months. Twenty-four miles is our longest training run.” 

Corrin was aware of Steffens’ marathon experience from his father, Gus, who also is a Lompoc firefighter. And he knew Steffens from being coached by him in T-Ball back in 2009.

“I still remember the first day he showed up for practice. He was the only kid who showed up with a Mohawk,” Steffens recalled with laugh. “I remember seeing him and saying, ‘Oh boy, this kid is going to be trouble.’

“I sort of gave him a hard time the first time I met him, just being a tee ball coach. I met his mom (Khrystal), and she’s a super nice lady. And Corrin is a super sweet kid; he is such a great kid, he would never hurt a fly.

Juré, top row, second player from the left, was coached by Steffens in T-Ball back in 2009.

Juré, top row, second player from the left, was coached by Steffens in T-Ball back in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Khrystal Juré.)

“I asked his mom about the haircut, and she told me that’s what he wanted.”

When Steffens and Corrin first discussed the senior project during the fall semester at Cabrillo, the plan was to enter the Bend Marathon in the Oregon mountain town on April 19.

The race had to scrubbed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the cancellation wasn’t going derail the project.

“I knew right away that I was still going to do it. Whether it was by myself or with my mentor, I knew I was still going to run it,” Corrin said. “I just kept training according to my schedule that was given to me. My reaction (to the cancellation) wasn’t too surprised because we could see it coming.

“But I was disappointed to not go to Bend and run that particular course.

Steffens came up with the Plan B of setting up a 26.2 distance for Corrin to run in the Lompoc area.

They’re going to start at Cabrillo High on Sunday, the same day of the Bend race, and run to Jalama Beach County Park. Other Lompoc firefighters will join them on the course, and friends and family will offer support and supplies along the way.

Steffens said he and Corrin’s father will paint mile markers on the course.

“It’s a brutal course,” Steffens admitted. “From Cabrillo High through the town of Lompoc is flat, then you climb up  Highway 1 a little bit, and Highway 1 rolls. Then you get on Jalama Road and it also rolls about 3 1/2 miles in before you hit a mile-and-half grade, and it is steep.”

The pair ran the road on their final training run last weekend.

“I wanted to do the grade so he and I knew what we were getting ourselves into,” said Steffens.

“Jalama Beach is a gnarly road anyway, so we’ll probably run a half mile and walk a half mile and finish off the grade. Then there is a 6-mile downhill section before you do another climb, which is another mile towards the end, and then it opens up to the coastline.”

Said Corrin: “Definitely not a flat or easy course. I’ve never run it, so it’s going to be fun!”

He noted that some of the projects his classmates are doing include scuba certification, aquarium touch tank, fishing, shaping a surfboard, and job shadowing a vet.

A senior project is typically a graduation requirement at Cabrillo, but “this year has different requirements since not everyone can finish their project” due to the stay-at-home orders and social distancing, said Corrin.

Khrystal is proud of the extent her son and other seniors are going through to complete their projects during this crazy time.

“With all that is going on, this is a great story and sheds so much light on the resilience and determination of this graduating class of 2020,” she said.

While the pandemic wiped out Corrin’s final season of track at Cabrillo, doing the marathon fills that gap and keeps him running beyond high school.

“Yes, this compensates,” he said. “This is something I want to do in my life, and I’ve done track in the past. I know I won’t run track in my future, but I hope to still run marathons and run as I get older.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.