UT Athletics hosts annual Marathon Kids event at Myers Stadium on Sept. 15
AUSTIN, Texas -- For the eighth year, The University of Texas Athletics Department will host the Marathon Kids Kick Off Celebration -- the first day of the free nationally-recognized fitness and nutrition program for Central Texas youths -- this Saturday, Sept. 15 at UT's Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium.
The free Marathon Kids six-month program is presented in the Austin area to public and private school districts, home-schooled children and those attending private schools by Whole Foods Market. The students, from kindergarten through fifth-grade, participate in a five-month, incremental 26.2 mile run, which is the equivalent of a marathon length. 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.
There will be two sessions of the Kick Off event -- one at 9 a.m. CT for all Austin school children, and the second at 11 a.m. for children from 13 other Central Texas participating school districts. Participants will walk/run the first mile of the 26.2 mile program with classmates and their family members.
The non-profit program, in its 11th year in Central Texas, had 45,000 registered participants from Central Texas, with nearly half of those participants expected to run at Myers Stadium on Saturday.
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 event taking place on the UT campus. Hundreds of Longhorns athletic staff, coaches and student-athletes will volunteer their time at Saturday's event.
The Kick Off Celebration is FREE and parking is free in the Manor Garage (PG5 garage) which is attached to Myers Stadium.
Selected UT student-athletes will run with selected children in the opening ceremonial flag lap. Others joining them on the ceremonial lap will be Will Wynn, Mayor of Austin; Eduardo J. Sanchez, M.D., commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services who becomes director of the Institute for Health Policy in The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston next month; AISD School Superintendent Pat Forgione; UT Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom; Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market VP along with community and teacher volunteers.
As all 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.
Marathon Kids® was started in Austin as a grassroots initiative, and the program is now also in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston and Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Chicago Marathon Kids launches in 2008-09. There are over 123,000 K-5th graders participating in the nationally-recognized free program. There are 294 towns and cities on the Marathon Kids waiting list, as well as 14 foreign countries.
The Marathon Kids program in Central Texas is presented by Whole Foods Market®, BlueCross Blue Shield, Run-Tex, The Moody Foundation, The Meadows Foundation and The Topfer Family Foundation.
For more information on the Marathon Kids program, please go to MarathonKids.com.