Marathon Kids’ flexible volunteer-led coaching model utilizes key program supports to enable children to increase their walking & running and attitude towards physical activity.

Research-Proven Methods

Review the Unparalleled Collection of Our Evidence-Base Programming


Students in Marathon Kids schools showed significantly higher outcomes on key measures such as increased physical activity and athletic self-perception. BIPOC students reported the highest program satisfaction, which is important given research that found athletic identity to be positively associated with physical activity in elementary and middle school children.

Read Summary


A high percentage of Marathon Kids schools incorporated more time during the school day for walking and running, with significant differences found between Marathon Kids and control schools.


Additional support provided to the two enhanced parent communication conditions resulted in increased parent exposure of the Marathon Kids program as well as enhanced program outcomes related to student tracking of miles and attendance at Marathon Kids events.


Strengths and lessons learned documented in this study provide a strong foundation for the overall approach of Marathon Kids. Engaging and co-learning with the vibrant Marathon Kids’ community-produced best practices for advancing Marathon Kids’ mission of providing a path for healthy youth development through running.

Read Summary

All studies conducted by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
at the University of Texas School of Public Health – Austin.

Evidence-Based Pillars

Marathon Kids has impacted the lives of millions of kids, as one of the only evidence-based structured physical activity programs for children in the United States. Research findings from studies conducted by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the University of Texas School of Public Health – Austin shaped our program by determining six evidence-based pillars to long-term healthy behavior adoption.

Goal Setting
Marathon Kids helps you create realistic and attainable goals for your kids. We provide you with tools to help you map out these goals for your running club.

Group Tracking
We help your running club keep track of their miles with both paper Mileage Logs and our physical activity and distance tracking app, Marathon Kids Connect.

Marathon Kids prioritizes modeling in our programming. If you make your health a priority your kids are more likely to do the same and will carry it on for a lifetime.

It’s proven that celebrating helps to promote long-term healthy behavior adoption. We provide clear instructions for throwing a Kick Off Ceremony and Finisher Celebration to motivate and celebrate your running club.

Social Support
A Marathon Kids youth run club is fun and motivating. Setting goals and running together will help inspire your kids to keep moving. Living a healthier lifestyle is easier and more fun if you have the support of others around you.

It’s been proven that positive reinforcement is effective. Marathon Kids incentivizes your running club by providing certificates, stickers, and other rewards throughout the season to encourage kids to keep running, and complete their goals.