AUSTIN - Childhood obesity has become one of the top health issues in America. In an effort to get more kids up and moving, a program is inspiring kids to run 100 miles. Not in one day -- throughout the year.
Marathon Kids held their kickoff event at Oaks Springs Elementary Thursday morning.
There to motivate the youth were two top athletes, talking to them about the kind of discipline it takes to make it to the Olympics. They also helped children realize it’s not out of their own grasp to work toward being an Olympian.
Amanda Bingson specializes in the hammer throw and has a world championship under her belt. Sam Humphreys throws the javelin and took the top spot in the 2012 Olympic trials. They travel with Marathon Kids to inspire grade schools not only around Central Texas, but around the nation.
The project is now in 250 cities across the US, impacting nearly 90,000 kids in Central Texas alone.
The idea is to move a little every day, which turns into a lot over the school year -- 104.8 miles to be precise. It's the equivalent of four marathons, at 26.2 miles each.
"We know that kids are not as physically active as they need to be,” explained Christine Pollei, Marathon Kids CEO. “We feel like we're a simple, fun and effective solution for that problem -- certainly for families and for communities. The more opportunity we can provide for schools like this to participate, the healthier and happier our country and our kids are going to be."
Progress is tracked. According to Pollei, the program is providing results. She sites a nine percent increase in heart heath among kids in the program who ran every day for at least 10 minutes a day. It adds up to 120 sessions a year.
But funding is always needed. Thursday was the official launch for the annual campaign. Organizers are hoping to raise $400,000 this year. You can sponsor a child for $15 by going to MarathonKids.org.