Despite the wind and rain, this past Saturday I volunteered at the Marathon Kids Final Mile Celebration Event at Western Polytechnic High School in Northwest Baltimore. I learned of the event through the Junior League of Baltimore and to be honest, prior to Saturday, I did not know much about the organization, its purpose or effect on the children it sought to serve. However, after Saturday’s event, not only was I impressed with the purpose of Marathon Kids, but I saw firsthand the positive effect this program has had on the children who have participated.
What is “Marathon Kids”?
Marathon Kids is a fitness and nutrition program aimed at children in grades K through 5 in several cities throughout the country. Currently, Baltimore City is the only east coast location of this program. Over the course of six months, students are required to run or walk 26.2 miles, eat five fruits and/or vegetables a day and record their progress. The program starts off with a Kick-Off Party and ends with a Final Mile Event. I was told by National Program Director, Marinda Reynolds, that 2300 Baltimore City students were present at the Kick-Off Event. However, due to the inclement weather on Saturday, only several hundred students came to celebrate their Final Mile.
The Marathon Kids program seeks to fight the rising epidemic of Type II diabetes and obesity by teaching children at an early age how to engage in healthy physical activity and eating. In talking with some of the parents during the event, I learned that the program had become more of a family activity with parents and children walking and striving to eat healthier foods together. Impressive! But most importantly, the kids who have completed this challenge had smiles from ear to ear as they crossed the finish line to get their medals and stickers (t-shirts were mailed to the schools individually). It was an exciting day filled with lots of cheering and celebration so much so I almost forgot about the rain.
Want to “Kick In”?
One last great aspect of the Marathon Kids program is that it is entirely FREE for all participants thanks to corporate sponsors and donations. Should you wish to sponsor and/or make a donation to this program, click HERE to donate now.