What is Marathon Kids?
Marathon Kids is an non-profit organization committed to improving the health of children by providing them with the motivation, tools, and support in order to live happier, healthier lifestyles. Marathon Kids offers programs and services for all children, however we target underserved communities who are most prone to sedentary lifestyles, diet related illnesses, as well as mental and other behavioral conditions.
How did Marathon Kids get started?
Marathon Kids™ was founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas. Our goal was to encourage children and their families to build a love and habit of running, walking and making healthy food choices.
Who are Marathon Kids?
In Marathon Kids’ first year, more than 6,800 Austin school children participated in the free program. The program grew throughout Texas to include Dallas, Houston, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley and now serves more than 250,000 children in Texas alone. Nationally, Marathon Kids™ expects to serve over 270,000 children in Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. More than 1,200,000 children have completed the 26.2 mile Marathon Kids™ challenge since the program began.
What does Marathon Kids do?
Marathon Kids offers programs, initiatives, resources and trainings that facilitate the child’s ability to make healthier choices for themselves whether in the school, at home, or in their community. Marathon Kids also seeks systemic and environmental change by serving as a resource for concerned parents, children’s health advocates, and community leaders who wish to gain the skills necessary to advocate for children’s health both in the school and their surrounding communities.
Children running, walking and making healthy choices!
Over the course of six months, Marathon Kids run or walk 26.2 miles in ½ or ¼ mile increments. After the completion of each increment of their 26.2 mile marathon, children color in their Running Log™ to visually represent their progress. The children are also given a “Checklist of Healthy Eating” and are encouraged by their parents and teachers to eat more fruits and vegetables. Two huge, community-wide events bookend the program year—the Kickoff and a Final Mile Medal Celebrations— to which we invite parents, friends, teachers, and community leaders in order for everyone to have an opportunity to show their support for the children’s accomplishments.
What is Marathon Families?
Marathon Families meaningfully engages parents, teachers, and other community leaders providing them with the tools to advocate for healthier living as well as bring vital resources and leadership to their school and community. Through deeper parental engagement in the Marathon Families program, Marathon Kids is able to increase the efficacy of our nutritional efforts as well as create a support system for the child.
Does the program work?
YES! Studies conducted by the University of Texas School of Public Health show those children who participate in Marathon Kid’s programs show significant improvement in 2 key areas:
- More habitual minutes of daily exercise
- Improved athletic self-perception