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For many, January is a traditional time for setting fresh health and wellness goals to improve their lives in the new year. So, why not up your game in 2019? Marathon Kids running clubs aren’t just for schools—they’re for anyone and everyone, including families that want to get and stay healthy together! If you’re looking for a way to be active with your family, why not start your own Marathon Kids at Home running club? Setup is quick, easy and affordable, and the benefits of regular running or walking with your kids are immeasurable.

Meet the Trammel Family

Take it from Katara Trammel, a Kempner, Texas, mother, teacher and mentor at The Homeschool Mommy. Trammel first learned about Marathon Kids when her son, Jermal Jr., attended Taylor Creek Elementary for kindergarten. “Jermal Jr. loved running with the Marathon Kids program,” Trammel says — so much so that she decided to incorporate his new passion into their family’s summer activities as well as their home school curriculum. “I love the fact that it allows us to spend quality time doing a physical activity outside,” Trammel says, “and that it eliminates the want for screen time.”

Marathon Kids at Home

The Importance of Staying Active Together as a Family

Before Marathon Kids came along, the Trammels were already used to being active together as a family. For years they have enjoyed mountain biking, road cycling, hiking and gardening together, and they love playing sports like volleyball and football as a family, or simply playing on teams with Nerf toys. They also do taekwondo and jujitsu together. “We love anything that raises our heart rates for at least 30 to 45 minutes,” Trammel says. “The key is to always have fun!”

Trammel believes that maintaining physical health helps to promote mental health. She reports that doing something physically active helps improve her son’s mood before it’s time to start his schoolwork for the day. “Running, walking or riding his bike really allows Jermal Jr. to come inside and start our school work eager and focused.”

She feels that the importance of staying active as a family is about even more than just the physical and mental health benefits. “Believe it or not,” she says, “being active together is a time when we learn and share with each other. Even in the midst of fun, our children will talk about things that are happening in their day-to-day life. They can ask questions or just feel comfortable to make jokes and be silly — just be kids. It definitely beats having every conversation only at dinner or in a structured environment!”
Marathon Kids at Home

Advice for Other Families Wanting to be Active Together 

Here is Trammel’s advice for other families that are hoping to add more physical activity into their family time: “As a parent, don’t be afraid to get out there. Even starting with a family walk is a great beginning, and you can build up from there.” She encourages families to focus on making it fun for everyone, such as by conducting a scavenger hunt or playing I Spy along your walking or running route.

“Be encouraging throughout the activity,” she says, “even if it’s just a fast walk from mailbox to mailbox or doing a shuttle run/walk in the driveway.” (Shuttle runs are a fun interval activity that involves setting up markers at short, regular distances, such as 10 meters apart. Runners run from the starting line to the closest marker, where they touch the ground before returning to the starting line. Then they run to the next closest marker, touch the ground there, and return again, and so on.)

Trammel’s final advice for developing a lasting healthy habit as a family? “Plan it. Put it on the calendar! When we write it down and everyone in the family knows, someone tends to remind the family, and it keeps us all accountable. Kids get excited about fun activities with the ones they love!”

Ready to Start Your Own Family Run Club? 

kids run club

Families that participate in Marathon Kids at Home work together to reach a total of 104.8 miles — the equivalent of four marathons. By tracking their progress as a group, one walking or running mile at a time, families establish healthy habits together and discover that they can achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Marathon Kids provides the framework, resources and rewards, and each Marathon Kids at Home family takes it from there, determining their own schedule, pace and method of movement. Running, walking, skipping, strolling, taking the dogs around the block — it all counts!

Marathon Kids at Home registration is just $20 per participant (shipping and handling included; parents can choose whether to pay for the whole family or only for the children). The registration fee includes four Nike incentives — one for each 26.2 miles achieved. Have questions? Reach out to programs@marathonkids.org — or simply register your family and start logging miles today!

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Shelly Fisher gave Marathon Kids at Home a try, as a homeschool P.E. curriculum bonus for her 10-year-old son. Read about their experience, getting active together on the sidewalks of their neighborhood!

Marathon Kids at Home family as homeschool curriculum The author with her son and their homeschool mascot, Lucy.

When our Marathon Kids at Home package arrived, I was a little surprised that confetti didn’t shoot out of our mailbox. My son and I both were more than a little excited about the addition to our homeschool schedule.

My ten-year-old already participates in a P.E. co-op once a week and plays baseball for our local youth league, but this was something different entirely!   The Marathon Kids program would serve as an organized fitness break during our school day and offer us something more than just running and playing in our backyard with our puppy and school mascot, Lucy.

The unassuming Marathon Kids at Home bag yielded goal charts, a program guide and drum roll… PRIZES. And not just any prizes, these prizes were from NIKE!

Marathon Kids at Home incentives for homeschool P.E. run clubs Nike incentives included in the Marathon Kids at Home kit.

I eyed the 26.2 marathon shirts and said, “Hey! We can wear these today for our kick-off!” Seconds later, his nose buried in the guide and eyebrows peeking over the top at me, my son said, “No, Mom. We have to earn those. You have to run your first marathon, which is 26.2 miles.” Armed with this new knowledge and a sudden jolt of whopping competitive spirit, I said, “Hey, let me see that!”

A quick perusal of the guide summed up everything we needed to get started: mileage logs, warm-ups, cool-downs, running tips, session cards, games, certificates and so much more!

First Step of Our First Marathon

We quickly mapped out our neighborhood. The route was super familiar for both of us, but now it had a purpose, a goal, a mission. We saw each cul-de-sac as one semi-circle closer to our goal and our super cool 26.2 t-shirts.

It seemed only fitting that our kick-off occurred on the same sidewalk where my son pulled his wagon and rode his fire engine, tricycle, motorized tractor, bike, skates, and scooter. (I totally plan to have him pop the curb in his first car so that I can get a picture of his first real wheels on the stretch of concrete outside our home.) Armed with our walking (me) and running (him) shoes, we took the very first step of our first marathon. It was a beautiful day and the sun shone through the trees to dapple the sidewalk ahead of us. My son waved at me from the cross streets as he happily jogged our neighborhood.

Then, life happened…

In addition to being a homeschool mom and full-time teacher, I teach at our son’s co-op and I am a real estate agent. I was frustrated to find that when our full schedule pushed in on us, our Marathon Kids program was the first item to drop off our list. I began evaluating what we as family valued and invested our time in on a daily basis.

Like all moms and dads, I am constantly seeking balance for our family, but I have recently learned that balance doesn’t mean that all things get equal time and attention. It means that the important things get more time and somehow that resolves all the little stuff. God has blessed our family greatly in so many ways and I am learning to find joy in the crazy unplanned days as well as the rare “hey-today-happened-just-like-I-planned” day. And guess what? Because we value our health and fun times together, Marathon Kids found its way back into our lives!

Life is a Marathon

Please forgive the cliché, but life is not a sprint, it truly is a marathon. Marathon Kids came into my life just as I was learning this within my family! If we miss a day of running, it’s okay. Our running shoes are still by the door and they’ll be there tomorrow and the next day and the next day. It’s not a “do it perfectly, or forget it” kind of program, and neither is life for that matter.

Your health and your family’s health are a lifelong pursuit and Marathon Kids is just the program to get you moving and KEEP you moving.

And… did I mention there are prizes from NIKE?!

Thank you, Marathon Kids, for bringing balance and perspective to our lives and a whole new way to view our neighborhood sidewalks!

Want to sign your family up to try Marathon Kids at Home? Head over here!