By Christine Bannister Moore
The Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run began five years ago as a way for parents running the marathon to involve their children in the event’s activities and expose them to the simple joys of organized running events. It has since grown into an outlet for children to challenge expectations of themselves and experience the feeling of training for a goal. They can also understand the benefits of being a healthy and fit individual.
Leading an active and healthy lifestyle goes beyond low-fat, no-fat food and miles on the treadmill. The Marine Corps Marathon believes that leading a healthy life allows us to set and accomplish goals, challenge the status quo, step outside our boundaries and trust that our bodies will take us further than our minds believe it can.
Once this thought process is instilled in our youth, the aspirations of being skinny, tight, buff, thin, ripped, hard-bodied and perfect become obsolete and the possibilities of being solid, powerful, well-rounded and healthy individuals become attainable.
In February, the Marine Corps Marathon awarded Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia the Marine Corps Marathon’s Healthy School Award for the third consecutive year, in honor of their outstanding participation in the Healthy Kids Fun Run. The Healthy School award is presented to the school with the most students participating in the Healthy Kids Fun Run. Lynbrook’s extraordinary effort to promote good health and encourage their students to lead an active lifestyle is an exemplary step to creating a healthier tomorrow for these boys and girls.
The following stories were written by Lynbrook students who ran in the 2003 Healthy Kids Fun Run. These students attempted what they thought was difficult, accomplished what they thought they couldn’t and finished what they didn’t think they could start. Their comments serve as the greatest motivator for parents to encourage their children to participate in the Fun Run and lead a healthy, active life.
Laidy, 6th Grade
The Healthy Kids Fun Run was the best run I have ever been to. The Run was exciting, but at the beginning I was afraid I wouldn’t finish or that I would finish last. But as I ran, I felt more confident because there were so many adults, Marines and other people cheering everyone who ran. If it weren’t for all the people cheering, I’m not sure I would have finished.
Maria, 6th Grade
It is very important to be a healthy kid because being healthy is part of being a successful person. By being healthy and exercising, you show that you care about your body and you don’t waste your time eating junk food and playing video games, which are both hazardous to your brain and body.
Nasser, 5th Grade
I think its is a great idea for the Marines to do this. One reason is that it helps kids get healthier and stronger. We can build up our muscles and convince other people to do it to stay healthy. Everyone who participates becomes healthier and stronger each time. I think it is wonderful that the Marine Corps is doing this because it is obviously a lot of hard work to do for just us kids and you will see that if you participate.
Danielle, 6th Grade
When I was about to reach the finish line, I got tired and was about to stop to take a break. Then suddenly, a Marine got in front of me and cheered me up by telling me that I could make it to the finish line without stopping. At that moment, I charged myself with courage and braveness and ran all the way to the finish line. When I was done, I was proud of myself and thankful for the Marine who encouraged me. So thank you, Marine Corps Marathon, for giving us the opportunity to show ourselves that we can do anything we challenge ourselves to do.
Mario, 6th Grade
Some people might say that the Fun Run is really easy but I think they are wrong. I was nervous the first time I ran the Fun Run and I started to shake a lot. As soon as I heard the gun fire, I tried my hardest and I never stopped. The next thing I knew, I was crossing the finish line first.
On Saturday, October 30, the Marine Corps Marathon will host the 2004 Healthy Kids Fun Run presented by The Washington Post. The annual event will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Iwo Jima Monument and is open to all children ages 6-13 years old. Ceremonies and warm ups with the Marines begin at 9:30 a.m. The entry fee is $10 or one new unwrapped toy (valued at $10) for donation to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign.
In addition to single registrants, youth groups, organizations, school groups and clubs are welcome and encouraged to register. The Marine Corps Marathon’s web site (www.marinemarathon.com) offers Healthy Kids Fun Run event day information, registration forms and training tips for youngsters.
Articles in the Healthy Kids Series are presented by the Marine Corps Marathon’s Healthy Kids Fun Run.
The Marine Corps Marathon’s Healthy Kids Fun Run will is held every year in October in Arlington, VA and is an exciting and safe way for kids to participate in an organized running event and be exposed to the joy and satisfaction of being a physically fit individual. Visit them on the web at www.marinemarathon.com. Christine Bannister Moore served as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Marine Corps Marathon.