06 April 2009

Congrats, Marathon Kids!

Last Saturday, April 4, I discovered what I love most about being a runner. The enjoyment of exercise isn't in logging hours on the track, treadmill or your neighborhood's sidewalk (duh!). The joy is sharing an experience with others who also dedicated months and months of their time to achieving a fitness goal.

On Saturday, I observed a new view of the finish line from the eyes of thousands of children enrolled in Marathon Kids, a free fitness program that teaches kids (in kindergarten through fifth grade) about the value of exercise and healthy eating. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market, the program requires participants to log 26.2 miles during a six-month course. Saturday's final mile celebration marked the completion of this journey.

My co-worker Kendall and I braved the windy and cold weather (alongside hundreds of volunteers and supporters) to help serve this great organization and the kids who committed themselves to healthy living.

The experience was one to remember. Our volunteer duty was to help the runners get pumped up before hitting the track to run their final lap — a task that involved lots of cheering and occasional goofiness (our specialty). It was truly special to see how exciting this moment was to so many kids. They spent six months dedicating themselves to exercise and learning about healthy nutrition. From the looks of it, they loved every minute! How many kids share those feelings when it comes to exercise?

As a reward, each finisher received a medal. One young boy showed his medal off with tremendous pride, saying, "Isn't this the coolest this you've ever seen?!" I agreed. It was surprisingly cool to spend my morning with little runners who will surely treasure their Marathon Kids experience for the rest of their lives.



Anonymous said...

Go, healthy kids!

Lori said...

What a great post Gretchen! I can totally feel the healthy spirit of the event with your words. What an amazing program.

I also wanted to share with you that I noticed you wrote many articles in the last issue of Dallas Child. Thank you for working so hard to make that publication so valuable!

Lori Bittenbender