14 October 2009

Another Season of Kids' Fitness!

Two programs in Dallas and Fort Worth are making strides in kids' fitness with efforts to get children off the couch (or out of the classroom) for running or walking activities.

In Dallas, Marathon Kids will kick off its 2009-2010 season on Saturday Oct. 17 at Loos Stadium. The organization, a Dallas ISD school fitness program (sponsored by Whole Foods) for kindergarten through fifth-grade children, requires kids to walk or run 26.2 miles over the next six months (in quarter or half-mile increments). The kids will also be challenged to eat healthy by keeping track of their fruits and veggies in a "Fuel Log" coloring book. Saturday's party will represent the kids' first mile in their marathon-length journey.

Last year, I volunteered at the Marathon Kid's final awards ceremony and was happy to see so many kids getting involved in exercise (like the kids in the photo above). The ceremony is open to spectators or volunteers; go here for more information, or see how your child's school can get involved!

On the other side of the Metroplex, the program, Run Like A Cheetah, aims to tackle obesity in Fort Worth ISD Schools. I ran into the program's organizer, Steve Looney, at a running event last weekend — he is very enthused about the progress made so far. As the race director for The Fort Worth Marathon, Looney says Run Like A Cheetah is funded solely by the marathon's proceeds.

Run Like A Cheetah hosts after-school running programs for kids within FWISD (shown in the photo on the right). According to Looney, the group calls upon elite runners to serve as mentors at the weekly training session ("We bring in the Kenyans for inspiration," he jokes!). The groups bigger goal (as kids reach their senior year in high school)? To help young runners successfully complete a full marathon.

In Looney's eyes, instilling a habit of running or walking at a young age will mean that kids will live a life full of exercise. I couldn't agree more.

Want to get involved or donate time or money to the Run With a Cheetah cause? Go here for more information, or register for the November 8th, 2009, full or half marathon in Fort Worth.


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