Monday, May 17, 2010

WELS Kids Marathon

I have procrastinated enough about telling you all about the WELS Kids Marathon that I am the director for. OK OK Here goes.

Some of you have been to marathons where they have a Kids Marathon as a part of the event. I decided to make up my very own Kids Marathon and last year was our inaugural year and we are now in the process if sign ups for the second year. The event goes like this. At the end of the school year, we invite school and kids to participate in the WELS Kids Marathon. The kids do not need to be a part of a school to join, it is just easier to attract kids through schools. We are a Christian based event but no not overly emphasis this as the main purpose it to get kids out exercising and reading. If a kid or parent wants to learn more about Jesus because of our event, Great! But we do not push it except of a small bible quote on the back of our shirts, a cross where the “T” in Marathon is, and we may give an inspirational book away at the final event if funds allow.

The kids who voluntarily join are required to run or walk 25.2 miles (I know it is 26.2 miles, hold on) over the summer in ¼, 1/2, or 1 miles segments and then also read either 26 books or read for 26 hours over the summer. Upon signing up, they receive running/reading log to keep track of their progress. This year the final event is being held on Saturday, August 28th in the morning where all the kids participating will gather to run their final mile (there is that last 1 mile) together. I have modeled this event after all the good things I like about a real full marathon. Music, festivities, food, race numbers, timer clock, etc. The kids receive a shirt at this event and when they cross the finish line, the receive their very own marathon finishers medal. We remind all the kids that by finishing a marathon, they are all winners!

Last year we had 197 kids participate with 10 schools. This year we have 22 schools participating and I anticipate close to 400 kids. It was such a huge success last year and we hope to keep it going. I am constantly thinking bigger and better but do not know where and how as of yet.

Being a Christian based program, there could be some problems attracting public schools to participate. This year we do have 4 public schools in South Milwaukee participating which is really cool yet I had one Catholic school that has reservations due to it not being a Catholic organization. Odd, huh. It is completely voluntary to join so we will see where it goes in the future.

It is so much fun sharing my love for running with kids around the Milwaukee area and showing them you do not have to be fast to run. I also love sharing the benefits to exercise and not always playing video games all summer. While I am not a very avid reader, I also feel it is important for the kids to read while they are out of school.

I know some of you have volunteered and have organized your own charity races and know the personal gratification that comes with putting on an event like this. You also know all the hard work that is involved. I have a good group of friend helping me put this on. We keep the entry cost at $12 to get more kids involved though our costs are much higher per kid. That is why we rely on sponsors to help us out. It is not always easy to get sponsors to donate, especially in this economy, but hopefully a few more will step forward and see the benefits we provide the kids and what benefits of exposure we can offer them.

If you have put on or been a part of organizing a race, drop a comment. I would love to hear about it!

Here is to fingers crossed on a great Second Annual WELS Kids Marathon.

1 comment:

NY Wolve said...

That is a great idea! I am going to incentivize my duaghter that way this summer!