Oct. 15, 2011
HOUSTON - University of Houston student-athletes from multiple sports volunteered Saturday morning at the Marathon Kids event that was held at the Tom Tellez Track.
At 10 a.m., thousands of Houston area kids, kindergarten through fifth grade, along with their parents and teachers, gathered to kick off the 2011-12 school year. Participants ran or walked a ceremonial first lap at the track. When they crossed the finish line, participants were awarded their Houston Marathon Kids water bottle and bicycle/bumper sticker.
"It's important for us to be out in the community, help others and be a role model for these kids," senior baseball pitcher Mo Wiley said. "We want to show these kids that getting out and being active every day, if even just for a little bit, makes a difference. Staying active is important for a healthy lifestyle."
"I had a lot of fun today. Being able to see the smiles on the kid's faces and to see them run hard and get after it was awesome."
This is the third year that the University of Houston Athletics Department has been involved with this project.
As part of Marathon Kids, participants will run or walk 26.2 miles in 1/4- or 1/2-mile increments over six months and families are challenged to eat five fruits and veggies a day. A final celebration will be held in the spring.
The free evidence-based program is presented in top-level collaboration with area elementary school districts, private schools and home schools. Physical educators, teachers and principals integrate the program as a key element in their ongoing goal setting, activity and nutrition work.
In its 16th year, Marathon Kids has grown into a nationally acclaimed program in eight US cities including, Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles and the Rio Grande Valley. There are 250,000 children registered nationwide this year and 35,000 are from the Houston area.
The six-month program is free thanks to sponsorship from H-E-B.