Road Runners Club of America

Growing the Sport of Running Since 1958

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Kids Run the Nation Curriculum

Getting a local youth running program off the ground starts with you - order your copy of the Kids Run the Nation Program Guide today! The Guide contains detailed information about organizing a youth running program, outlines the 10-week Kids Run the Nation curriculum, and offers supplemental educational and administrative resources.

We do not charge burdensome royalty fees for ​implementing the Kids Run the Nation program, and any youth running program may use the Kids Run the Nation name and logo so long as it is properly insured for youth running through the RRCA, USA Track & Field, a partner organization, ​a school, or a PTA. If you want to use a different name for your program but still follow the Kids Run the Nation Program Guide, no problem. Our goal is clear: to see a youth running program operate in every school and community in the United States.


How Do I Start a Kids Run the Nation Program?

Organize your youth program using ​one of the following options:

​Work with a Partner ​

Work with a local school or a before- or after-school program ​such as the Boys & Girls Club​ or YMCA, or partner with your local running club or run specialty store to help implement the Kids Run the Nation program over an 8- to 10-week period.

Start a Youth Running Club

​Establish your own youth running​ club. A youth running club follows the same procedures and pays the same fees for developing an adult club​. Find detailed instructions, including information on the RRCA’s group 501(c)3 exemption with the IRS, on our Start a Club page.


Develop a Schedule

​Determine your start and end dates, weekly meetings, meeting locations, and daily schedule of activities. Will you follow the academic calendar? Will you offer multiple sessions or seasons each year? Whatever you decide, your program should provide 30 minutes or more of activity multiple days per week.

Establish G​oals

Establish an overall goal for your program and its participants. Will you work toward completing an end-of-season fun run or race? Will you attempt to "run across the country" or "run across the state," tallying cumulative miles run by all participants? Will you "run a marathon," completing 25 miles during program meetings and finishing the final 1.2 miles as part of a local race to reach the total marathon distance? There are as many goals as there are youth running program​s, and your goal will help to gauge participation rates, staffing needs, and equipment requirements, among other things.

​Identify Funding

Depending on your funding situation, decide whether you will offer the program free of charge or charge a fee to participants. Programs can be very successful when charging $25-$35 or less per session (e.g. semester, school year, summer). There are no burdensome royalty fees to brand a program as a Kids Run the Nation program, so registration funds will directly benefit your program.

How Do I Get Kids to Fall in Love with Running?

Focus on Fun. Instruction and activities should be participatory in nature and engage all students in a positive and supportive environment. Running should never be used as a punishment.

Track both participation and distance and offer incentives for reaching major milestones. From Kids Run the Nation backpack tags and t-shirts to tokens, medals, trophies, and ribbons, kids are motivated by progress that is rewarded with small mementos.

Engage families​ 
and encourage young runners to be active at home. Consider holding an information session for parents and families before each program session begins to inform them about program administration and involve them in the process. Provide each participant with a copy of the Kids Run the Nation Running Guide for Kids as a take-home reminder of curriculum topics. Reviewing the information at home helps involve parents, siblings, and other family members in young runners’ lives. Invite families to participate in weekly running sessions or your program-ending fun run or race.

Ensure adequate staffing​. Recruit teachers, administrators, parents, and other volunteers to help run the program​. Provide guidelines and training to achieve success. Obtain background checks on all adult staff through the ​National Center for Safety Initiatives.

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