UT Athletics again hosts Marathon Kids event at Myers Stadium Sept. 16
AUSTIN, Texas -- For the seventh year, The University of Texas Athletics Department will host the Marathon Kids Kick Off Celebration -- the first day of the nationally-recognized fitness and nutrition program for Central Texas youths -- this Saturday, Sept. 16 at UT's Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium. There will be two sessions of the running event -- one at 9 a.m. (Central) for all Austin school children, and at 11 a.m. for children from the other Central Texas participating school districts.
This free program, in its 10th year in Central Texas, is for kindergarteners through fifth-graders from 14 school districts from the Central Texas area. Hundreds of Longhorns athletic staff, coaches and student-athletes will volunteer their time Saturday, where 20,000 of the 40,000 registered Marathon Kids are expected at the ceremonial Kick Off Celebration. UT women's track and field/cross country head coach Bev Kearney has been involved with the Marathon Kids project since its infancy, and is responsible for the kick off event taking place at UT.
The event is FREE and parking is free in the Manor Garage (PG5 garage) which is attached to Myers Stadium.
The nationally-recognized Marathon Kids running/walking and nutrition program is a free program for kindergarteners through fifth-graders who participate in a five-month, incremental 26.2 mile run, which is the equivalent of a marathon length. There are 42,000 registered K through fifth-graders in this year's Marathon Kids program in Central Texas. In addition to learning the benefits of physical fitness, the Marathon Kids program is designed to get parents and guardians involved with their children, encouraging them to achieve the Marathon Kids goals.
Saturday all children will run the first mile of their 26.2 mile run at Myers Stadium. As the children cross the finish line, after running in "rounds," they will be given their free Marathon Kids Reward Water Bottles. During the six month program, all incentives must be earned. At the Final Mile Medal Celebration in the winter, the Marathon Kids will earn their "Finisher Medals," and later in school assemblies, they will receive their "Marathon Kids Finisher" T-shirts.
At the Kick Off Celebration, selected UT student-athletes will run with selected children in the opening ceremonial flag lap. Others involved in the opening ceremonies include Kearney; Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, commissioner of the Texas Department of Health Services; Adolfo Valadez, M.D., director of Austin Travis County Health & Human Services; Betsy Foster, vice president of purchasing for Whole Foods Market; Paul Carrozza, member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and owner of RunTex, Inc.; Austin Police Department fitness team members; Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and marathon training coach; Karen Banks from Sustainable Community Youth Gardening; and physical education district coordinators Michelle Rusnak (Austin ISD) and Traci Neely (Round Rock ISD).
Last year's Kick Off Celebration at UT had to be cancelled due to the impending Hurricane Rita in late September.
Marathon Kids is a 10-year old nonprofit organization. Begun in Austin as a grassroots initiative, it is now in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Rio Grande Valley and Los Angeles. There are nearly 137,000 K through fifth-graders involved in the program, and the target market is those children most vulnerable to childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes. There are 294 towns and cities on the Marathon Kids waiting list, as well as 14 foreign countries.
The Marathon Kids program is presented by Whole Foods Market®, The Moody Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the Meadows Foundation and The Topfer Family Foundation.
In addition to volunteers from UT Athletics, community runners, physical educators and other fitness enthusiasts, Whole Foods Market team members, the Austin Police Department, Austin Association of PE Teachers (AAPER), the Austin Wranglers, UT Orange Jackets, and UT School of Kinesiology students will join in to help the children at their Kick Off Celebration this Saturday.
For more information on the Marathon Kids program, please go to MarathonKids.com.