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MARATHON KIDS LAUNCHES VIRTUAL “WE RUN THE WORLD” RELAY PRESENTED BY ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS, TO CELEBRATE 25 YEARS OF GETTING KIDS MOVING

For Release: 8/11/2020

AUSTIN, Texas – For 25 years, Marathon Kids has been encouraging kids to run for their mental and physical health with real results. That’s why they’re kicking off their 25th anniversary season with a virtual relay race that will bring together athletes, hikers, walkers, and past and current Marathon Kids runners from all over to celebrate this historic milestone, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.

During the entire month of September, Marathon Kids is asking people to come together around the country to run or walk a cumulative 25,000 miles—slightly more than the circumference of the earth! In a partnership with FitRankings, they’ll be tracking miles from participants near and far. 

To register for this epic virtual event, visit marathonkids.org/weruntheworld. Registration starts at $10, but everyone is invited to pay what they can. There are rewards at every donation level from $10 to $50, which include a virtual race bib, virtual badges that celebrate personal mile markers, event T-shirts, and more!

Founded in Austin in 1995, Marathon Kids is a nonprofit on a mission to get kids moving. The Marathon Kids program is implemented in Austin ISD districtwide, as well as hundreds of other schools across the country. Kids who participate in the running and walking program set goals to cover a cumulative four marathons, or 104.8 miles, one mile at a time over the course of the school year.

As of 2020, the Marathon Kids program is offered at no charge for all schools and community organizations and includes access to Marathon Kids Connect, the organization’s new physical activity tracking app and reporting platform. Marathon Kids Connect was developed to make it easier than ever to track and report on kids’ active time, and it will help to meet students’ shifting needs if the 2020–21 school year includes periods of distance-learning from home. Teachers and coaches can use the platform and app to connect, get involved, and support their student runners in making progress, hitting milestones, and celebrating achievements.

More About Marathon Kids

Marathon Kids has inspired more than 2.5 million children over the past 25 years to live happier, healthier lives.

When kids participate in Marathon Kids, they have a much better chance of getting enough daily physical activity. That’s good news for their bodies and their minds. When kids feel healthy, they perform better in school, exhibit better behavior, and make better choices.

Research shows that the Marathon Kids program gets kids active and jump-starts long-lasting healthy habits. Through running, Marathon Kids shows kids they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. Visit MarathonKids.org to learn more.

About Academy Sports + Outdoors

At Academy Sports + Outdoors, we kickstart fun by inspiring play. At each of our 259 locations, we carry a wide range of apparel, footwear, hunting, fishing and camping equipment, patio sets and barbeque grills, along with sports and recreation products, at everyday low prices. For more information about Academy Sports + Outdoors, visit academy.com.

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Physical and mental health are at a premium these days, which makes getting kids moving more important than ever. With COVID-19 concerns now in the mix, it can feel like a real challenge to help kids reach their daily physical activity goals indoors while keeping a safe distance from each other – but it is possible. When it’s too hot, cold or wet to have PE outside, there are plenty of great indoor options to get your students moving while still staying safe. Here are seven of the best safe distance indoor PE games.

Also, don’t forget – Marathon Kids Connect is a great and easy way to log kids’ daily physical activity! It’s not just for running or walking, either; 20 minutes of any heart-pounding physical activity counts as one mile. Marathon Kids programming is available to any school or community organization for FREE through Marathon Kids Connect, our cloud-based digital lap-tracking app and reporting platform. Whether kids are at school or doing distance-learning from home, parents, teachers and coaches can use the app to report kids’ physical activity, track their progress and celebrate milestones.

Here are seven of the best safe distance indoor PE games for days when you have to stay inside:

1. YOGA

Yoga, at its simplest, is gentle strength-training combined with stretching, and it helps kids (and adults!) develop mindfulness – all of which has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve mood and increase physical strength and wellbeing. Best of all, yoga is a naturally socially distant PE activity. Sounds like an all-around win for living a healthy life in the midst of a global pandemic! Have kids sit six feet apart, or mark off each student’s spot on the floor with tape or colored paper. Then lead them through a series of basic yoga moves – downward dog, cat/cow stretches, cobra pose and more. Start and finish with a few moments of quiet, deep breathing to increase relaxation and mindfulness. Everyone will feel refreshed and ready to focus on academics once again!

2. READY, SET, GO!

Racing is another naturally solo sport, which makes it perfect for a safe distance PE activity. And kids can definitely race indoors, whether you’re in a classroom, a hallway or the gym. Set up cones six feet apart along two opposing walls of the hallway or room; if possible, use cones of different colors along one wall, and the same, coordinating colors along the opposite wall. That way, kids can start at a certain cone on one side of the room, and when the teacher says “Go,” they can run toward the same color of cone on the other side. Increase the length of the race by having kids run a certain number of laps, or make it an interval-training session by having them run from one cone to the other and then walk back, repeating as desired.

While masks are an important part of keeping ourselves and others safe, Marathon Kids does not recommend that kids wear masks when running. Read more about best practices for Safe Distance Running.

3. PICKLEBALL

A bit like tennis played with a Wiffle Ball and large, wooden, ping-pong-style paddles, Pickleball is perfect for safely distanced indoor play, especially if you have a smaller class or plenty of space for groups of students to play multiple games at once. Pickleball develops students’ hand-eye coordination and strategy skills while encouraging teamwork among them. Best of all, it’s easy for kids to stay six-plus-feet apart while playing together.

4. SHARK ZONE

Shark Zone is fun when it’s played in teams, but it can be adapted as a safe distance PE game by having students navigate the obstacle course in staggered, one-by-one phases. Set it up by laying out mats throughout the gym – blue if possible! – and then setting up a series of items on top of the mats that students can stand on while moving from one to the next without touching the mats. These items might include balance beams, benches, chairs, wooden boards and so on. Tell the students the mats are the shark-infested waters, and the items on top are the safe zone. Their task is to strategize a way to move safely from one safe zone to the next without ever falling to the mat.

5. FITNESS BINGO

Fitness Bingo is a fun spin on circuit training, and it’s easy for kids to do at a safe distance from one another. Mark off spots on the floor that are six feet apart or more, and give students Bingo-style sheets with exercises listed in the squares, along with a target number of repetitions or length of time for each exercise. These might include 10 pushups, burpees or jumping-jacks; 20 seconds of mountain-climbers, jumping rope or running in place; and so on. Students stand in their marked-off sections with a Fitness Bingo sheet and a marker to mark off which activities they complete as the teacher calls them out. The first person to call out “Fitness Bingo!” when they’ve marked off all their squares gets to lead the next round!

6. RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT

This classic, simple movement game can be a safe distance indoor PE game if you have a smaller class or a larger space. Use masking or painter’s tape to delineate lines from one side of the room to the other side that are six feet apart. Students can line up, one per taped line, and follow these lines to maintain their distance as they follow the teacher’s cues. “Green light” means everyone advances toward the finish line; “red light” means everyone freezes in place as quickly as possible. The game ends when everyone has crossed the finish line. The movements students use in moving toward the finish line are up to them and the teacher to decide; they can speed-walk, run, skip, dance, or do jumping jacks, high-knees, lunges, or even burpees. The possibilities are limitless!

7. INDOOR FREE-PLAY STATIONS

Many kids love having free choice and autonomy built into their school day, and indoor PE days are perfect for blending these elements with movement and fun. Set up stations at a safe distance around the gym (or wherever you’re meeting with students) and have children cycle through activities of their choice. These can include activities that develop their endurance, balance, and strength along with their persistence, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination. Try activities like hula-hooping, underhand throwing with bean bags, jumping rope, jumping-jacks, long jumps, pushups, planks, burpees, high-knees, or running in place.

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking. 

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Classroom teachers are nothing if not flexible, adapting year after year to ever-changing standards and expectations, data gathering and reporting requirements, and more. Now, with this school year’s ever-shifting schedule modifications and new requirements, many classroom teachers are also adding physical activity to their lists of teaching duties. If you are one of these teachers, never fear – Marathon Kids has you covered!

Marathon Kids Connect is our all-new, completely FREE physical activity-tracking app and reporting platform that includes access to free lesson plans and resources to help you get your students moving in the classroom, or out in the schoolyard, safely. Getting started is easy: Just head over here. Once you’re registered, you’ll have instant access to Marathon Kids Connect along with all sorts of games, activities and lesson plans to help you hit the ground running – and again, all of it is completely free.

GETTING KIDS MOVING, EVEN DURING DISTANCE LEARNING

The Marathon Kids Connect app and platform make it easy to get kids moving, and track their progress towards physical activity goals. Teachers can print runner ID cards with unique QR codes for each student. Then, as students complete laps or minutes of physical activity, teachers scan the ID cards with a phone or tablet to capture the data. That data automatically uploads to the cloud-based platform, where teachers can view leaderboards and show students their progress.

Marathon Kids Connect also bridges the gap between school and home, helping students continue to meet their physical education requirements and activity goals during periods of distance learning. If your school must close periodically, you can use the platform to stay connected with your students’ parents. Parents can submit miles their kids have run at home through the platform, for your approval.

USING MARATHON KIDS CONNECT TO INSPIRE STUDENTS

Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is incredibly important for kids’ health and wellbeing – not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. There are new challenges with getting kids moving at school in this time of COVID-19, but the Marathon Kids Connect app makes contact-free activity tracking possible. Your smartphone or tablet can be set up at a self-scan station where students scan their runner ID cards as they complete their physical activity, or you can enter the data manually. Guide your students in keeping a safe distance from one another, washing hands before and after active time, and sanitizing their ID cards, and you’ve got a healthy group that can work together toward physical activity goals.

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking. 

GET STARTED FOR FREE!

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Are you familiar with Marathon Kids Connect, our all-new, FREE physical activity and distance tracking app and reporting platform? We think all PE teachers and run club coaches should be, since we designed it with you and your student runners in mind, to make mileage and physical activity tracking and reporting a breeze! It bridges the gap between school and home, enabling students to continue working toward their physical activity goals even during periods of distance learning.

The app and reporting platform is completely FREE. Registering for Marathon Kids Connect will give you access to free pe curriculum like lesson plans and run club resources to enable you to effectively track students’ physical activity and distance. The platform will also help you gather important data to support Physical Education and active minutes to meet mandates. To get started, simply create an account!

USING MARATHON KIDS CONNECT TO CREATE A SAFE DISTANCE RUN CLUB

Kids can continue running together, gaining the benefits of community and accountability, while staying safe and healthy in a Safe Distance Run Club – a Marathon Kids club that prioritizes everyone’s wellbeing with safe, socially distant runs and best practices for good health.

The Marathon Kids Connect app makes hands-free lap-tracking a breeze: Coaches can download the app to their smartphones or tablets and set up a self-scan station where students scan their runner ID cards as they run past – no popsicle sticks, paper and pen or Wi-Fi needed. (The manual data entry feature is also still available for coaches who prefer it!)

Parents can also record miles their kids cover at home and submit the data through the platform for coach approval.

HELPING PE TEACHERS KEEP ADMINS IN THE LOOP

Daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is incredibly important for kids’ health and wellbeing – not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. This has never been truer than now, since the spread of COVID-19 and all the uncertainty it has brought to families across the country. Kids need consistent physical activity and Marathon Kids Connect helps coaches show school administrators the difference they are making in keeping students active.

Our app and reporting platform make reporting a snap and allow you to share up-to-date impact dashboards with your school principal and other key stakeholders to demonstrate your runners’ progress and the importance of your running program.

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a physical activity and distance tracking app. 

GET YOUR SCHOOL STARTED

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In response to distance learning challenges and the increased need for tools to facilitate hybrid PE programming, Marathon Kids has launched a new digital toolset, available at no charge.

For Immediate Release: 8/5/2020

AUSTIN, Texas – Marathon Kids is excited to announce new changes that will help the program reach more children than ever before in the 2020–21 school year while meeting the shifting needs of kids, parents, teachers, and schools amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This year, the Marathon Kids program is completely free for schools and community organizations, with no limit to the number of children who can participate. Included with free registration is a welcome pack that includes group tracking posters and a starter pack of Marathon Kids’ all-new sticker-based reward system, online lesson plans for on-campus and at-home learning, and access to the new digital lap-tracking and reporting platform, Marathon Kids Connect.

Marathon Kids Connect is a cloud-based run club management platform that provides a digital lap-tracking app along with free educational resources and reporting capability. The platform makes it easier than ever to measure and report on kids’ active time. Coaches and classroom teachers track students’ progress simply by scanning runners’ ID cards after each lap completed or entering miles manually, increasing accuracy, and simplifying record-keeping. Parents can also log kids’ miles at home. 

Because the pandemic situation is still rapidly developing, it is unclear what schooling will look like in fall 2020. Schools across the country are anticipating budget cuts that could affect Physical Education programs, and distance learning may continue to be incorporated in both fall and spring semesters. With so much uncertainty, children need regular physical activity more than ever, for their mental health as well as the physical fitness benefits it confers. These considerations inspired Marathon Kids to make the program free for all children in the United States, with free access to lessons and programmatic resources that have been adapted to incorporate safe distancing practices

With the new platform, PE teachers and run club coaches can use quick reports to share their students’ physical activity progress with principals and district leaders. Classroom teachers, who may need to help students meet physical activity requirements, can do Marathon Kids in the Classroom, using the platform’s free online resources to get kids moving safely during the school day. They will also have access to a new library of training videos and content modules on topics like Behavior Adoption Strategies to Build Self-Efficacy, Integrating Social-Emotional Learning with Physical Activity, Marathon Kids + COVID 19, and more. Live, customized training is also available to help teachers and administrators get familiar with the new platform.

Parents can use Marathon Kids Connect to become an extension of Run Club, viewing their child’s progress from home and submitting additional miles covered outside of school. 

Run club goals remain the same as in past years: Students work toward their first cumulative marathon (26.2 miles), and then strive to complete their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th marathon milestones before the season’s end. One lap at a time, one day at a time, kids make progress on their goals and discover the joy in regular physical activity.

About Marathon Kids: The mission of Marathon Kids is to show children that through running, they can achieve more than they thought possible, and to put them on the path to healthier lives. The organization empowers teachers, coaches, and community members to start the Marathon Kids program in their schools, camps, and organizations. Marathon Kids works for any kid, at any fitness level. Kids in the program work at their own pace to run, or walk, a cumulative 104.8 miles—the equivalent mileage of four marathons—over the course of the school year. Marathon Kids provides the training, tools, and resources teachers, parents, and coaches need to keep kids moving. For more information, please visit MarathonKids.org.