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We invite you to join the movement for more movement by becoming an Active Schools Champion!

Parents, schools, and organizations are invited to become Active Schools Champions and join a network of passionate people who are changing the way we prioritize physical activity in schools. As a champion, you will make connections, have access to valuable resources, and help create healthy habits in kids that last a lifetime.

Joining is free. So, please sign up and add your voice to the cause!

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Corpus Christi ISD (CCISD) is on a mission to get kids active and healthy. Located in the Coastal Bend of Texas, Corpus Christi has a high prevalence of chronic disease, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and asthma. To provide a brighter future for his students, Richard Torres, CCISD Specialist for Health & Physical Education, has taken action with the district’s health plan, making youth physical activity a priority.

Since the 2016-17 season, CCISD has steadily increased its investment in Marathon Kids, to get elementary and middle school students moving both during and after the school day. In the past three years, there have been 9,091 total runners in 163 Marathon Kids run clubs. During that time, CCISD has invested $28,798 in keeping Marathon Kids in the schools, and Marathon Kids has come alongside the district in awarding a total of $136,365 in grant funding. Thanks to the efforts of Richard Torres, and the amazing coaches in the district, we have created a solid partnership and are hoping for 4,000 runners in CCISD next season.

Baker Middle School

Coach Laura Brennan pushes her middle school runners to be the best, encouraging them to run three miles during run club sessions. Her coaching has cultivated some of the best runners in the state for this age group. “We’ve been doing Marathon Kids here at Baker Middle School for about three years,” says Coach Brennan. “I really like it a lot because I noticed the kids coming in from fifth grade, it gives them something to look forward to as sixth graders in a new, big school, with the older kids.”

Windsor Park Elementary

Coach Rhonda Vela has strong implementation of Marathon Kids at Windsor Park. This is a gifted and talented school, where students are committed to both their academic and athletic pursuits. Each participant completed the Marathon Kids program (104.8 miles) this season, and this school also boasts some of the best runners in the state. One Windsor Park Elementary runner recently won a 10K in the middle school age group.

Zachary Kolda Elementary

Coach Cristina Arrisola is coaching Marathon Kids for the fourth year in a row at Kolda Elementary. The school has a strong running culture and Coach Arrisola ensures her students are organized, with warm-ups and cool downs.

“This is my fourth year doing the program and I really enjoy seeing the kids get healthier,” says Coach Arrisola. “I decided to coach because every student should be able to feel they belong to something better in life. Running puts things into a positive state of mind. To see the kids who said to me, ‘I don’t run Coach, but I will try my best,’ and to see their face light up when he/she reaches a marathon goal, is priceless.”

3rd grade girls in the Zachary Kolda Elementary School Running Club

After attending Marathon Kids’ Leadership Academy, Coach Arrisola challenged herself to start another run club. This season, she got kids at Kassie Middle School running, too. She now coaches 6th grade boys and girls, and takes them to community runs.

Kassie Middle School runners

“I like Marathon Kids because it pushes me harder to get more miles and I get faster,” says Jaidan, a 6th grader. “I see really big improvements in people because of Marathon Kids. Whenever someone completes their marathon, they get a big smile on their face because they finally did it! I do the same, too! When I see people, they run really fast ’cause they want their marathon to be done. Another reason I like Marathon Kids is because whenever I go out, people know I completed my marathon and then I see they completed a marathon, too. This is why I like Marathon Kids and it should be our running club forever!”

Want to bring Marathon Kids to your district? Share this story with your school and district leaders! For more information, contact us at programs@marathonkids.org.

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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It was not your normal Friday morning in Pflugerville, Texas.

A group of children and their families, teachers and coaches had gathered at Pflugerville Elementary School, just north of Austin, to run laps around the track—but that wasn’t the unusual part. These community walks are a regular monthly event at the school, as part of Coach Lydia Salaiz’s school-wide Marathon Kids running club. Coach Salaiz plays music at these gatherings—familiar Kidz Bop tunes that boom out over the track—and uses a megaphone to call out encouragement to the kids.

“My principal supports me one-hundred-percent wholeheartedly,” she says. “She lets us have these community walks during class time once a month, and we love to invite all the community, so we get parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles—everyone’s out here! It’s just wonderful.”

Marathon Kids run club

It was wonderful, but that wasn’t the unusual part, either. The unusual part was the fact that reporters from local news station KXAN had also gathered to cover the event, as—even more unusual still—Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross had come to run with the kids.

It was International Women’s Day, and Ms. Richards-Ross—gold medalist in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, member of the Marathon Kids board, and new mom to an 18-month-old baby boy—had come to support and inspire the children. The first group she ran with was girls only.

“I want to inspire girls to fall in love with running,” Richards-Ross says, “because of how they drop out of sports by age eleven to fourteen. No one really knows why that is, but I want to encourage girls to stay in sports.” She points out that girls are two times less likely than boys to be active. “From being part of Marathon Kids, and from my own experience, I’ve learned that being active makes you a better person. It makes you a better student; it gets your brain working. I think most people can attest to that—you don’t want to go to the gym, but after you go, you feel so good about yourself. Kids who experience that at a young age are much more likely to continue that active lifestyle throughout their lives. And as a female athlete, I want to inspire girls to stay active.”

Austin Kids Run Club

One 10-year-old Pflugerville Elementary student, Aubrey, made it her New Year’s resolution to be the first girl in the school to finish a complete marathon. When the students finish their first marathon, they get to enter their names on the Finishers Chart posted in the gym. Instead of being the first girl to enter her name on the chart, Aubrey was the first finisher overall, among both boys and girls—an accomplishment that inspired her to keep going and aiming high. “I love filling in all the bubbles,” she said, referring to the mileage logs that every student at the school fills out themselves, “and I like to be first!” About having Ms. Richards-Ross visit the school, she said, “It’s really encouraging and exciting!”

Another little girl, Izzy, also 10 years old, shared that she loves Marathon Kids “because you can be free, and it’s really fun to run!”

Either of these girls might be a future Olympic champion one day, judging by their ambition and sentiments that match those of Ms. Richards-Ross, who began running at age seven. “I felt like I was born to run,” Richards-Ross says, “and I always felt like I was most free when I was on the track. It was my place of peace and meditation, so I think there is something very freeing about running.”

Run club for kids

Along with inspiring girls to stay active, she also has a special passion for inspiring minority children to run. She points out that many minority kids “never think about running a marathon. To be able to say, ‘Hey, with this program, you can run 400 meters a day’—which is my specialty—and it can add up to a full marathon, I think we will have a lot more young people and minorities who will think about tackling a marathon. I hope to inspire young people who might not have thought about running as a potential route to finding their best selves.”

Active Families Austin

Coach Salaiz agrees that running and staying active help children become their best selves. Along with Assistant Coach Cindy Lucero, she leads her students in group pushups and sit-ups as part of their Marathon Kids training. This regimen gets a thumbs-up from Sanya Richards-Ross, who also engaged in stretching and strength-training drills as a child in order to run with good form.

Pflugerville Elementary has just over 530 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, and the entire school participates in Marathon Kids. Coach Salaiz says the school was labeled Title I this year; many students come from lower-SES backgrounds, and plenty have working parents with limited time for shuttling their children to sports events or play dates. This is part of the reason behind the monthly community walks; Coach Salaiz started them in hopes that parents would join their children in developing fun, healthy habits together.

Family support is also an essential component to success for Richards-Ross, who credits her father with being her biggest supporter and inspiration. Both Richards-Ross and Coach Salaiz recognize the struggles that modern families must work against. “We’re fighting against so many things,” says Richards-Ross, “like social media, gaming, all these things that keep us sedentary—so I just want kids to know that running can be a vital part of their lives, and it’s fun, and they should all want to do it!”

Active Austin Families

Buy-in does not seem to be an issue among the students at Pflugerville Elementary. Emily, seven, says she loves Marathon Kids because she loves to run and also loves to catch up and play with her friends. Watching the students run, walk and skip around the track, it’s clear that many must share Emily’s feelings. The students are laughing, talking and even singing as they move their bodies, and the adults by their side are listening, smiling and talking as well.

During this particular community walk, Ms. Richards-Ross ran with the kindergarteners. They did a mini relay race together, and Richards-Ross chanted “We’re gonna kill it!” in a silly singsong voice with the children, smiling ear to ear as she tapped her brightly colored plastic relay stick against theirs. Tall and rangy, she towered over the kindergarteners, so she crouched down to meet them at their level as she gave out encouragement and tips. One little girl ran in cheetah-print leggings and a black tutu, and could not stop bouncing on her toes and grinning excitedly up at the Olympic champion in their midst.

kids marathon run club

“What I really love about running,” says Richards-Ross, “is that there is no barrier to it. If you have a body, you can go out and run. You don’t have to have money or special gear or anything; you can just grab a pair of sneakers and go. So I love that about this sport, and track and field in particular.”

She says she is transitioning out of sports, and serving on the board of Marathon Kids is one way of staying connected with that world and making sure children carry on the torch, so to speak. “I feel like I have a different perspective on the importance of being active and participating in sports,” she says. “If it weren’t for sports, I wouldn’t have traveled the world; I wouldn’t have had all these amazing experiences. So I am excited to be able to share that with other young people.”

Coach Salaiz has the same hope for her Marathon Kids running club at Pflugerville Elementary. She’s been involved with Marathon Kids for 24 years; “My own children grew up doing it,” she says. “Now they’re all in college, and it’s just been a phenomenal thing. And I just hope I instill that love of healthy living in these children as they get older.”

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AUSTIN, Texas – Marathon Kids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, today announced a generous donation from MedSpring Urgent Care. The total amount of funding—$17,500—will be used to support the Marathon Kids mission of helping children create a healthier lifestyle through running.

“We share Marathon Kids’ important mission of improving the health and happiness of children by going the distance to provide valuable experiences through meaningful engagement. We are proud of our strong partnership with Marathon Kids because we are running towards the same goal of promoting wellness,” said MedSpring President and CEO Butch Marino.

One of the only evidence-based running/walking programs for children in the United States, Marathon Kids is funded primarily through corporate and community partnerships. Funds donated by MedSpring will help Marathon Kids get more kids moving in diverse communities all over the country.

Butch Marino, President and CEO of MedSpring Urgent Care, will present a ceremonial check to Cami Hawkins, CEO of Marathon Kids, at MedSpring Urgent Care – Buda on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. Members of the media and the general public are invited to attend the check presentation ceremony. MedSpring’s Buda facility is located at 1567 Main Street #100.

MedSpring offers patient-centered care in a spa-like environment, for those who need convenient and immediate access to care. For illnesses and injuries that are non-emergent, but still need immediate medical care, urgent cares are an excellent and cost-effective solution. MedSpring provides patients with care seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., including most holidays.

Marathon Kids CEO Cami Hawkins believes community support, including partnerships with companies like MedSpring, is an essential component in helping children adopt healthy habits. “The Marathon Kids program gets kids moving and helps them to stay focused and motivated,” said Hawkins. “MedSpring shares our mission of improving children’s health, lives and futures. We’re grateful they’ve partnered with us to inspire kids to be active and stay healthy.”

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

The Marathon Kids mission is to show children that through running they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. The nonprofit organization empowers teachers, parents and coaches to start Marathon Kids running clubs in their homes, schools, camps or other organizations.

Kids enrolled in the program work at their own pace to run, or walk, the equivalent mileage of up to four marathons (104.8 miles) over the course of the running club season. Marathon Kids provides the training, rewards, tools and resources to a network of dedicated, motivated and inspiring coaches, supporting them every step of the way.

For more information, please visit MarathonKids.org.

ABOUT MEDSPRING

MedSpring Urgent Care is an experienced provider of urgent care services to local communities in Texas and Illinois. Through extended hours, shorter wait times, lower costs, and personalized attention, MedSpring delivers an exceptional healthcare experience to all patients. Our goal is to provide superior patient care while improving the everyday health of our patients in the communities we serve.

For more information, please visit medspring.com.

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Ever dream you could race a four-time Olympic gold medalist and win? Champion distance runner Mo Farah bets you can! He’s giving kids the chance to beat him to the finish line of the London Marathon. Marathon Kids across the world will have a chance to  “Beat Mo to the Finish Line” this spring.

RUN #ONEMOMILE!

World-class London-based runner Mo Farah is a celebrated Nike athlete and Marathon Kids Global Ambassador. Kids have the opportunity to “race” Mo and run another full marathon before Mo competes in the London Marathon on April 22. The will kids get a generous head start – the eight weeks leading up to the marathon – to complete all 26.2 miles.

Since 2015, nearly 2,500 running clubs and more than 430,000 kids have enrolled in the Marathon Kids program, which is available in all 50 states. A growing number of families are participating in the Marathon Kids At Home program, which allows parents to run with their kids in the same evidence-based program available to schools and community-based organizations.

Are you ready to take on Mo? Click here for more info on how to get your school or family involved.

WHO IS MO FARAH?

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama “Mo” Farah, CBE is Britain’s most successful-ever distance runner. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Mo is a gold medalist in both the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter races in 2012 and 2016. Mo is the most decorated athlete in British athletics history, with ten global titles, and was the first British athlete to win two gold medals at the same world championships. With five gold medals at the European Athletics Championships, Mo is the most successful athlete in individual events in the championships’ history.

His family had to flee Mogadishu since they were targeted due to their origin from Somaliland, which had declared independence from Somalia. After fleeing Mogadishu to Gabiley, Somaliland with his family, Mo spent his early childhood as a refugee in Djibouti with his twin brother. He moved to Britain when he was eight to join his father, speaking very little English at the time.

Now, he’s widely celebrated in Britain and around the world and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his athletic endeavors in 2017.

Need some extra motivation from Mo himself? Click here for a quick video from Mo as he encourages your kids to keep moving. #OneMoMile

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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By Staff, Modern Wellness Guide

Only a fraction of children get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day. CEO Cami Hawkins talks why movement is so important for their emotional and physical well being.

Why is physical fitness so important for children?

Globally, physical inactivity has reached pandemic proportions. The first ten years of life are game-changing. These years provide a critical window for creating a lifelong commitment to physical activity. Research shows that kids need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. However, only one in five kids currently reaches that minimum. Physical inactivity and poor food choices cause all sorts of problems — like diabetes, problem behavior, low self-esteem, heart disease, mental health issues, liver disease and poor school performance.

What’s the best way to motivate a discouraged child? What’s the best way to motivate a child in general?

We base our program on six evidence-based pillars:  Goal setting, both short- and long-term; tracking,where kids track their progress ¼ mile at a time, social support, modeling the way, rewarding and celebrating. Whether a child is running, walking, or wheeling in their wheelchairs, that counts toward their goal; every physical activity is worth celebrating, and with a system of small milestones, kids stay focused and motivated.

What are some healthy tips people can integrate into their everyday lives?

It’s a straightforward formula: eat healthier foods and get moving. Any amount of activity is better than none, and anyone can find a way to get exercise at their own pace.

How can someone get involved?

At Marathon Kids, we welcome those who want to participate as coaches, parent supporters, donors, or advocates; as a community, we can change the future for this generation of kids.

 This article originally appeared in the Modern Wellness Guide as part of Mediaplanet’s Childhood Wellness campaign. The campaign was distributed through USA TODAY on December 27, 2017 and is published online

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On November 5th actor and comedian Kevin Hart is lining up alongside thousands of others to run the TCS New York City Marathon. This is Hart’s first marathon and he is running with purpose – his goal is to encourage kids and adults to be active together.

As a father and avid runner, Hart knows the importance of getting kids active early in life. Hart has chosen Marathon Kids as his charity beneficiary with a gift of $50,000 to ensure more kids get moving.

Hart’s donation will provide thousands of children in low socioeconomic communities the access to preventative physical education programming that they need. Marathon Kids participants learn why physical activity is so important – and best of all they learn to love it – making it more likely they’ll stay active for life.

Join us in cheering Hart on as he runs for Marathon Kids and the millions of children who still need intervention. There is a simple way you can get involved too!

You can make a difference by stepping in to fund a child without the financial means to participate. Your $15 donation provides a year’s worth of programming, click here to make that generous gift.

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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Following his spectacular 10,000-meter win in London, and ahead of his final 5,000-meter race, Mo Farah has revealed one element of the next stage of his career: he will pass the torch to the next generation of runners as a global ambassador for Marathon Kids.

“I love running, and it’s given me and my family so much,” says Farah. “As a dad, I know how important it is for my children to be active, and I’m honored to have the chance to inspire kids to run with Marathon Kids.”

Marathon Kids, Nike’s community running partner, helps children unlock their potential one lap at a time, one day at a time. In the Marathon Kids program, kids work at their own pace to run or walk the equivalent of up to four marathons at school, at running clubs or with their families.

Nike and Marathon Kids joined forces in the US in 2015, and have since grown the program’s footprint from three US states to all 50, with more than 350,000 Marathon Kids. The program expanded to the UK this academic year, with more than 20,000 kids already running.

Yesterday, Farah joined 30 children from Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, London, to celebrate their achievements — each has run the equivalent of at least one marathon over the past school year.

“Mo is one of the greatest runners of all time,” says Ray Blue, Chief Development Officer for Marathon Kids. “To have him join our team as a Marathon Kids ambassador is a dream come true. He’s a hero to kids around the world, and we know he will inspire many more kids to start their running journeys.”

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Marathon Kids and Nike Celebrate a National Milestone, with More Than 350,000 Active Kids. Join the movement with Marathon Kids at Home.

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Marathon Kids and Nike are proud to announce that as of this summer, kids in 50 states across the U.S. are now running with Marathon Kids. The goal-driven running program challenges kids to run the equivalent of up to four marathons (104.8 miles) over the course of a running club season or school year.

Marathon Kids began over 22 years ago in Austin, Tex., and expanded to Calif. and Md. in its first two decades. In 2015, Marathon Kids and Nike joined forces, and the partnership has grown the program from three states to all 50 states, with more than 350,000 kids running in the program with their local community-based organizations, schools or at home with their families.

With the goal of inspiring half a million kids in the U.S. to start running with the program by 2020, Marathon Kids expanded its reach with Marathon Kids at Home in 2016. The four-marathon challenge is the same as the traditional program, with Marathon Kids at Home enabling families to run together, using the Marathon Kids motivational mobile app to track the progress of their running season and celebrate accomplishing milestones along the way.

“Our goal is to get kids running for life—for their health and happiness now, and for a lifetime,” said Ray Blue, Chief Development Officer. “The partnership with Nike has really taken our program to the next level, and we’re so humbled and excited by the potential to encourage even more kids to get active this summer with the Marathon Kids at Home program.”

To celebrate the journey of getting kids moving in 50 states, Marathon Kids and Nike have also released a special short film, “Run With Me”, with Marathon Kids participants from across the country motivating other kids to get active—one mile at a time. The two-minute film shows how running can be fun, inclusive and empowering for all kids.

“Today’s kids are part of the least active generation ever, and it’s up to all of us to get them moving,” said Caitlin Morris, General Manager of Nike Global Community Impact. “Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world, starting with kids, and there’s no better place to start than with running, the starting line for play and movement, to help them fall in love with sport and physical activity for a lifetime. Together with the Marathon Kids team, we’re excited to inspire kids across the country to participate in the program—running at school, in their neighborhoods and with their families—to help inspire positive habits that will benefit them in all areas of their life.”

The Marathon Kids program design is informed by the research of leading physical activity experts at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Through an evidence-based approach, Marathon Kids has determined that an average child can safely and effectively meet the goal of running 104.8 miles, incrementally, over the course of a 3- 6- or 9-month running club season (or school year). A key part of the program is to provide positive reinforcement, which Marathon Kids does by rewarding kids with exclusive Nike program rewards when they reach program milestones of 26.2, 52.4, 78.6 and 104.8.

By the end of the 2016-2017 running season, 80 percent of surveyed running clubs showed remarkable progress—with 89 percent of runners finishing one marathon, 72 percent finishing two marathons, 57 percent finishing three marathons and 41 percent completing all four marathons.

The Marathon Kids at Home program makes it easy for families to get moving together— sign ups are available on the Marathon Kids website. The cost of the Marathon Kids program is $15 per person plus $5 for shipping and provides all the tools, incentives and motivation to start a family running club, including a family guide, mileage logs, rewards, access to additional online resources, trainings and events. Family running clubs can also use the Marathon Kids app (integrated with NIKE+) to track their miles.

Here are a few inspiring examples of kids running with Marathon Kids across the country:

  • One of Marathon Kids’ most active families, the Gonzalez family, began participating in the program in the fall of 2015 in Los Angeles, Calif. Omar Gonzalez learned about Marathon Kids through running with Nike and the program quickly became part of his family’s routine. Together, they’ve run in the last two Marathon Kids Miler celebratory events in LA and continue on their fitness journey with the Marathon Kids at Home program. Recently, Good Housekeeping shared their running story, which inspired mom and daughter team Jessica and Amelia, from Casper, Wyo., to become Marathon Kids’ newest family run club. After reading the article, Jessica knew the program would be a great fit for her and Amelia (8) who are Wyoming’s first Marathon Kids runners as the 50th state to join the program. “I want my daughter to grow up knowing that being active is not a chore, but something she enjoys,” shares Jessica. “She’s already an active child but Marathon Kids has given us the opportunity to carve out time for the two of us to spend together working on our running goals.”
  • At Oakhaven Elementary in Memphis, Tenn., 95 percent of kids are economically disadvantaged, but thanks to special funding they were able to bring in Marathon Kids as their first-ever extracurricular physical activity program. During the school year their coach, Jeremiah Bland, uses the program to teach hard work both on the track and in the classroom. Most of his participants made the Honor Role and Principal’s List while logging the fastest 5K times in the county.
  • Marathon Kids began in 1995 with just 2,000 kids from the 80,000+ Austin Independent School District. The program’s popularity quickly grew statewide with hundreds of clubs in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, the Rio Grande Valley and waiting lists forming in other cities. This year more than 100,000 Tex. children ran, maintaining its status as the state with the highest Marathon Kids participation numbers.

Learn more about the Marathon Kids program and how to join us this summer by participating in Marathon Kids at Home here.

About Nike Community Impact

Nike believes in the power of sport to unleash human potential and build community. We’re committed to getting kids moving through sport and play so that they can lead healthier, happier and more successful lives, as well as to building more equal playing fields for all athletes*. Through our Made to Play programs, we’re partnering to impact the lives of more than 14 million kids around the world. http://about.nike.com/pages/community-impact

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Coach Maria Mendez is a K-5 PE teacher at Freedom Elementary School in Southside Independent School District, approximately 20 miles south of downtown San Antonio. After hearing about Marathon Kids at one of her district learning days, Coach Mendez, a lifelong runner, decided it was a great idea to start a Marathon Kids Running Club with her 4th graders.

Deciding to start small, Coach Mendez promoted the club to 4th graders, and parents were quick to raise funds and turn in permission slips for their children to participate in running club. The program has quickly gained popularity within the school, and next season, the 3rd graders will join the club.

Coach Mendez not only sets an active example for her students by participating in physical activity herself, but also has set the example for her peers at Freedom Elementary. “Our faculty is very supportive our run club. Other students watch us run by and are always asking to join in. Our kids run as a team and it really helps their mind, body and soul and they have become closer friends through the running together. The mileage logs and Nike incentives keep the kids motivated to push toward their next goal. It also helps keep me in shape!” says Coach Mendez.

Although Freedom Elementary doesn’t have a running track, Coach Mendez has mapped a route around the school, which is roughly a fifth of a mile. Students the count their laps and set the goal to run at least one mile per session. Participants run for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday at the school and then involve their parents and families by running 30 minutes on the weekends.

Coach Mendez has many runners who see the many benefits of their increased physical activity. Ten year old Trinity shares, “Marathon Kids has helped me stay fit and helped me with cross-country and track. It makes me feel more energized and I don’t feel tired, anymore”.

Freedom Elementary is a Title 1 campus, meaning that the majority of students are enrolled in the free and reduced price school meals program. In spite of economic challenges, Coach Mendez sees both the value in Marathon Kids and the importance of asking runners and their families to contribute to their current and future health.

“Marathon Kids Club, has really inspired my students to become closer to one another, and to me. It has taught them responsibility, given them stamina, courage, and a love for running. It has made me become a better role model for my Students. They always know what days we are running, and if certain circumstances arise, and they can’t run, they aren’t very happy. I’ve also noticed that the runners have become closer, and are developing relationships with one another, and with me. I hope to continue the running club next year, and I will encourage other Coaches in the district to start a Marathon Kids run club, they will love it!”

Feeling inspired by Coach Mendez to take the initiative to have participants self-fund to participate in a Marathon Kids running club? Contact KT, at kenrick@marathonkids.org, for ideas and resources you can use to get started.