Annie Tucker discovered Marathon Kids when her son Brick was in first grade. The school was offering a running club as an extracurricular after-school activity, twice a week, monitored by parent volunteers.
“My husband and I liked the Marathon Kids program because Brick had tried out a variety of sports, and nothing had stuck; he bounced from activity to activity,” Annie says. “This was something he could do that didn’t require any special skills. He didn’t have to be competitive with anyone but himself.”
At that time, Marathon Kids only offered a one-marathon program to schools, and it was over the course of an abbreviated period of time. Near the end of the run club season, there were a number of kids who had not yet reached the full marathon goal. The school decided to offer additional running sessions so the kids could log miles and finish, and Brick was motivated to complete his goal.
When the Tucker family later moved to Chicago, Annie sought out Marathon Kids clubs, but they didn’t exist in Illinois at the time. She figured it was because of the weather, and although she was disappointed, she didn’t pursue it further.
Fast-forward to 2017, when Annie happened to see the job posting for Marathon Kids’ Chief Technology Officer role, after moving back to Austin. She remembered how much she liked the program her son had completed, and she knew that she was on board with Marathon Kids’ mission.
“Now, I think about how I might have started a club for my family in Chicago if I had known how,” Annie says. “It was that motivating piece to help a young child set a goal and be active and want to participate. It had all of the things we were looking for, and I want to help empower more families to start their own journeys.”
Trying Marathon Kids at Home
Annie’s youngest son has a social-emotional learning disability, and she introduced the Marathon Kids At Home program to him earlier this year to help him manage stress and focus better in school. His special education team at school employed the program to help him expend energy and to keep his eye on the goal; when he was having a challenging day, they would suggest a trip outside to log some miles. And the Tucker family did the same at home along with him so he could keep track of his miles in both places.
“I love the way Marathon Kids positions running. When I was a kid, it was all about speed, and I hated that because I wasn’t fast,” Annie says. “Marathon Kids is about how far you can go. As someone who wasn’t very athletic, I love the simplicity of the program – it’s so adaptable for every kid.”
Brick, the Tuckers’ original Marathon Kid, is now twelve. He indicated that he wants to play football at the middle school this fall, and Annie’s husband, Brian, told him if he’s serious about football, then he needs to be healthy and conditioned. Together, they get up every morning to run and completed their first marathon on the Marathon Kids At Home program in June.
“One of the things I love about Marathon Kids is the adaptability,” Annie says. “At home, you can use it every day and consistently and clock some miles. Some kids need a little extra push and they retain the motivation to do it.”
Annie loves the opportunity working for Marathon Kids gives her to help the community.
“I’m very passionate about the program. It’s so important to keep kids active, and kids deserve to be outside and running and free. They naturally love that.”
To give Marathon Kids at Home a try, click here.