For Immediate Release: 9/1/2020
AUSTIN, Texas – Over the past 25 years, Marathon Kids has gotten 2.5 million kids moving—and now, it’s time to celebrate! Founded in Austin in 1995, Marathon Kids offered the first children’s running program grounded in research. And that research was compelling: It showed that regular exercise improved kids’ physical and mental health and even boosted their academic success. It also showed that early physical activity set kids up for a lifetime of fitness. These tenets became the basis for the nonprofit’s commitment to helping children of all abilities lead healthy, active lives.
A quarter-century later, Marathon Kids has expanded its reach to kids in all 50 states as well as the U.K. The organization has remained agile and future-oriented even as it has hewed close to its longtime vision of seeing “all kids active and healthy for a lifetime.” In 2020 alone, as the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has raged across the world, Marathon Kids has made key innovations to make its programming accessible to kids of all backgrounds and abilities. With the launch of Marathon Kids Connect, an all-new, cloud-based physical activity tracking and reporting platform, Marathon Kids also removed the cost barrier by offering the program completely free to all schools and community organizations. Visit MarathonKids.org/Connect to join, access free resources, and get kids moving.
There are more exciting events in the works, starting this September, when Marathon Kids will celebrate its milestone anniversary and kick off the new running season by teaming up with Academy Sports + Outdoors to host a virtual relay race. We Run the World is a free walking and running event spanning the entire month of September. People around the country will join forces to run or walk a cumulative 25,000 miles (slightly more than the circumference of the earth!), with FitRankings tracking participants’ miles.
Relay registration is pay-what-you-can, ranging from free of charge to $50; contributing at least $10 gets you swag like a virtual running badge and printable race bib along with endless bragging rights. Participants will be invited to keep track of individual and community progress on the Leaderboard, and there is a virtual Hall of Fame for anyone who wants to upload a photo with the hashtag #MKRunTheWorld. All are welcome to run or walk in this epic virtual event, including kids, grownups, and families; the more people participating, the more ground covered together! Learn more and register at MarathonKids.org/WeRunTheWorld.
At the end of the month, when We Run the World reaches its 25,000-mile finish line, it will be time to pass the baton to a new season of Marathon Kids who are primed to start the 2020–2021 running season. The Austin Independent School District will launch the new season with a Marathon Kids Day celebration in October. Plans are also in the works for a finishers’ celebration in the spring—whether virtual or in-person remains to be determined, but either way, it promises to be legendary!
Be sure to follow Marathon Kids on social media, including the hashtag #MKRunTheWorld, and check out the organization’s blog as it highlights the Faces of Marathon Kids—nine key figures who have been instrumental in launching the nonprofit and helping it innovate and expand into what it is today. Each will be celebrated on the Marathon Kids blog, including fundraising pages for each figure to raise necessary funds so the Marathon Kids program can remain free for all, for good.
About Marathon Kids
Marathon Kids shows kids through running that they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. Kids in the program work at their own pace to run or walk the equivalent mileage of up to four marathons. They run (or walk) one lap at a time, one day at a time, and before they know it they’ve gone farther than they ever dreamed. Kids enrolled in the program have a network of dedicated adults showing them how it’s done, and most importantly, a motivated and inspiring coach supporting them every step of the way.
Partners and supporters include Nike, H-E-B, LA Dodgers Foundation, Academy Sports + Outdoors, City of Austin, Cap 10K, Dallas Loop-the-Lake Foundation, Active Schools, Austin Runners Club.
More information is available at marathonkids.org.