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RRCA: Kids Run the Fund Provides $15,000 in Grants to Youth Running Programs in 2010

Arlington, VA – December 15, 2010 – The Road Runners Club of America is pleased to announce that $15,000 has been granted to deserving youth running programs throughout the US. 

Starting in 2007, the RRCA has granted $5,000 annually to deserving youth running programs around the country through the Kids Run the Nation Fund. The Kids Run the Nation Fund is designed to provide needed resources to launch and support youth running programs around the country as an opportunity to address the on-going inactivity and obesity crisis facing today’s youth.

After significant financial support in 2010 for the Kids Run the Nation Fund by RRCA members and individual donors, the organization has been able to increase their overall Kids Run the Nation grant funding to $15,000 for the year. 

The Kids Run the Nation grant applications are reviewed by the grant selection panel which includes David Cotter (RRCA Vice President), Dan Kesterson (Youth Runner Magazine), David Epstein (RRCA Western Region Director), Brent Ayer (RRCA President), Kelly Richards (RRCA Board Member), and Jean Arthur (Montgomery County Road Runners Club President).

The panel reviewed 77 applications for programs that collectively serve more than 20,000 youth around the country.  While all applicants are deserving of funding, the following programs were recommended by the selection panel and approved by the RRCA Board of Directors to receive a Kids Run the Nation grant.  Ten grants will be used to launch new youth running programs and the remainder will support existing youth running programs. 

The RRCA is pleased to award a total of $15,000 worth of Kids Run the Nation grants to the following twenty-two youth running programs around the US:


Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Center for Youth and Families is Boston’s largest youth and human service agency, impacting the lives of over 90,000 residents each year through programs and services at 38 community facilities.  The BCYF Youth Running Club is a program that will be located at four community centers and adjoining parks in neighborhoods where distance running is not a typical sport.  The program will target areas of Boston where children tend to have greater limitation of movement due to typical urban safety concerns, and as a result the children lead more sedentary lifestyles.  The BYF Youth Running Clubs are designed to be a developmental program that utilizes a child-centered curriculum that emphasizes the joy of running as outlined in the Kids Run the Nation Guide. 

Rapid City, South Dakota

The Black Hills Runners Club is a regional club that promotes running, walking, and healthy lifestyle activities for all ages in the western South Dakota.  The BHRC will implement the Kids Run the Nation program to complement their current efforts to support youth running in their community.  The program will serve the financially disadvantaged population of children in the Black Hills. The Black Hills has a high proportion of Native American - Lakota Sioux youth with a high incidence of Diabetes in their population.  The goal of the program is to provide educational opportunities about nutrition and healthy fitness habits such as running to help break the cycle of ongoing health issues within the area’s youth population.

Basset, Nebraska

Basset Grade School is located in rural Nebraska where 18% of families live below poverty level.  The school will develop a program for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.  The students will sign-up for clubs including the One Mile Club, the Two Mile Club, and the Three Mile Club.  Group runs will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and the school will work with the Rock County Hospital Solid Rock walking program to provide incentives for miles walked or run.  The program will conclude with a 5K walk/run.


Cocoa, Florida

At Endeavour Elementary School, 94% of the student population is eligible for free and reduced lunches and 84% of the student population includes minority students.  The school is located in an area of declining socioeconomic status in Cocoa, Florida where exercise, eating right, and other fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle are inadequately met for children.  Endeavour Elementary School will implement the Kids Run the Nation program as a school based running program for students.


Silver Spring, MD

The Penguin Pacers program will provide running opportunities to male and female students in grades 3rd through 5th.  The program will serve a diverse student population within a suburb of Washington, DC.  The 1-day a week, 8-week program will provide students with structured activities that promote health and fitness and emphasize the development of aerobic fitness through age appropriate running activities.  The program will culminate with a 1-mile fun run for students and their families. 

Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

The school, founded on the campus of Lincoln University, almost had to close its doors due to the Pennsylvania State budget crisis.  The result had an impact on the school’s ability to provide extracurricular activities for all students.  In response, TNT International Racing Club, a nonprofit running club for athletes of all levels, will work with Erin Dudley Forbes Charter School to develop a gender-neutral, youth running program.  The goal is to develop a program where all students can participate in an affordable youth running program to increase physical activity. The program will serve children in grades K-6.


Hampden, Maine

The Hampden Recreation Department and the Sub 5 Club have partnered to develop a youth running program for children in grades 3rd through 8th.  The goal of the program is to expose children to the benefits and rewards of running and to provide this age range a program that promotes a healthy lifestyle in addition to an athletic endeavor.  The Hampden Recreation Department will provide promotional support for the program and the members of the Sub 5 Club will provide voluntary coaching services for the program.  The program will conclude with a community fun run.

Indiatlantic, Florida

The program is open to boys and girls from 2nd to 8th grade, and the students meet twice a week after school. It is designed for students who would like to participate in an organized physical activity but may not have the athletic skills to play organized sports.  The running club is a yearlong program designed to introduce the benefits of running and walking along with individual goal setting objectives.  The school participates in a Coastal Catholic League track meet every May and many of the program participants use the program to improve their running skills for this event.

Peoria, Illinois

The Banner Running Club is a youth running club started by Banner Elementary School PTO in 2009.  The school-based running club started with 15 members and has grown to over 50 members in one year with over 30% of the participants being minority students.  The club meets after school for an educational clinic on topics such as goal setting, nutrition, running, sportsmanship, and more.  Students in grades 3rd through 5th are encouraged to participate, and the program culminates in running in a local 5k race.

Boca Raton, Florida

The YMCA Afterschool running program will be run after school from 3-4pm twice a week and will be a 16-week, free program for kids.  The program will culminate with a Kids Run the Nation 1 mile fun run and the YMCA 5K run, which will be open to the public.  The local YMCA and the Runner’s Edge Foundation volunteers will coach the program that will serve children ages 6-14.


Sacramento, California

The program is an after school program where inner city children from Oakridge Elementary School, a Title I school in Sacramento, are taught the fundamentals of running. The program serves students in grades 3rd through 8th, and 100% of the children in the program live below the poverty level.  The program is a 16-week running program that focuses on Cross Country running in the fall and Track running in the spring.  Many of the children show-up at he start of the program in flip-flops or old discarded shoes.  The program strives to provide new, free running shoes to all participants in the program.

Callahan, Florida

The Run Club is now in its third year.  It is going strong and has grown to over 200 students.  Callahan Elementary School is a kindergarten through second grade, Title I school, that serves a very rural, low-income population with over 60% of students on free or reduced lunch.  The club meets once a week for an hour for the duration of the school year. This program has brought the community and families together in supporting a healthy activity for area children. This year the club expanded to their feeder school, Callahan Intermediate, which serves grades 3rd through 5th.

Paducah, Kentucky

“Running Is Elementary” was born out of the passion that is growing in Paducah, KY along with the communities desire to fight obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle.  Kentucky is 3rd in obesity in the nation with 1 in 3 children either overweight or obese and 5th in poverty.  Many local elementary schools are struggling to put together after-school programs. The Rehab Associates Foundation is working to implement an 8-week after school running program for elementary schools.  There is a target goal to start free, Kids Run the Nation programs in 10 elementary schools in Western Kentucky for the first season.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

This program serves the entire Dennis Chavez Elementary School community, grades K through 5th. The program meets twice a week before school throughout the school year and uses the New Mexico BioPark Run for the Zoo as a culminating race.  Runners can choose to enter a 1-mile run or a 5K run depending on their age and/or ability.  Runners receive a t-shirt with the school name and logo on it to run the race in.  There is an informal competition with other elementary schools to see who has the most runners.  Dennis Chavez has always been one of the top schools regarding number of runners. The running club is designed to start the kids on a lifelong pursuit of physical fitness and therefore promote a healthy lifestyle free from obesity.


Laguna Niguel, California

The Hidden Hills Elementary School Running Club is a pre-existing program established by the PTA with the goal of developing students’ life-long interest in physical activity and helping to halt the rise in childhood obesity.  Hidden Hills has students from a wide variety of demographics and income levels, with nearly 25% of students receiving free or reduced lunches.  The running club is a weekly program offered throughout the school year whereby students in 1st through 5th grades run laps around the school field during their Tuesday lunch period.  The running club is open for both boys and girls, the only requirement being that students have parental permission to participate in the program.  Last year, 300 children participated, and the goal is to expand the program to attract more students.  Parent volunteers who have been subject to fingerprinting and criminal background checks in accordance with the Capistrano Unified School District operate the running club.


Spotsylvania, Virginia

The club will meet once a week for a full hour during the school year.  The program will include any Courtland Elementary student in grades K through 5th who would like to participate.  In addition, high school and middle school students may attend as volunteer mentors to encourage the elementary school students.  The program will include three activity stations per session. The first is a Cross Country or Track run where participants’ will run laps and have their distances logged.  The second will be a fun station that includes running games including core and physical strength training activities.  The third will be a nutrition station where kids will have the opportunity to learn about, assemble, and sample healthy recipes that they can make at home, too. The mission of the club is to give all the students; especially the children whose families cannot afford to participate in other after school fitness programs, the opportunity to be physically active. 

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Longfellow Elementary is located in Eau Claire Wisconsin where 80% of the students live below the national poverty level and qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Most of the students do not have the opportunity to participate in team sports.  Longfellow, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire (UWEC), has created a morning running program to foster a love of running for students and to encourage students to be active.  Over 90% of the students participate in the running program.  The program meets twice a week before school for a run.  UWEC students in the Health and Physical education class for grades K-8 facilitate the program at Longfellow.  UWEC students motivate and run with Longfellow students.  For very lap of the playground run by a student, they earn a Popsicle stick and the sticks are turned in at the end of the morning runs so numbers can be logged. UWEC students provide incentives throughout the semester to encourage and reward participation for students for achieving milestones.  Longfellow also hosts a 5k run in the spring, which students are encouraged to participate in, and there is normally a 98% participation rate in the mile run events.

Danville, Kentucky

The Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation has a goal to operate five Fit Kids sessions during fiscal year 2011.  The Fit Kids groups will meet three times a week in 1-hour sessions with each session engaging children in a blend of wellness education, running and other activities.  Childhood obesity is a particular problem in Kentucky, and Fit Kids is designed to help children in grades K through 5th develop optimal wellness, exercise and running attitudes. 


Lakeland, Florida
The program is an after school program at the YMCA in Lakeland, FL.  The running group is for both boys and girls in grades 3rd through 5th.  The program was launched at the request of two 5th grade girls wanting a running club at their after school program.  The program is now in its third year, and children meet weekly for an hour to run.  The program also teaches participants about stretching, proper running form, pacing, good nutrition, and many other things to help them live a healthy lifestyle.  The children are encouraged to run in local races if they show an interest.


Memphis, Tennessee

Unfortunately, Memphis ranks as one of the top three cities with obesity problems and the largest population of inactive people. The Memphis Runners Track Club would like to try to change those statistics starting with the children in their community.  The MRTC-KIDS!™ is a program designed to teach children ages 3 through 13 the fun of running.  The program includes a 4-week training in the fall and 2-week training in the spring.  The program finishes with an all kid’s race.  The program is based on the children’s ages and abilities and is held at a local park.  In the training program the kids learn about: proper form, running safety, proper warm-up and cool down, proper stretching, good nutrition, running etiquette, proper hydration, and how to have fun while exercising.

Portland, Oregon

Run Portland creates and sustains running programs in local schools and as part of after school care programs.  Run Portland supports both Track and Cross Country programs in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in metropolitan Portland, OR.  The organization often provides a first time running experience for middle school aged children.  Members of Run Portland’s ambassador program volunteer as coaches, and they have undergone the RRCA coaching certification.  By providing this experience Run Portland is addressing lifestyle choices in the fight against childhood obesity.


Salisbury, North Carolina

The Rowan County Health Department notes that approximately 30% of children receiving care at Salisbury Pediatric Associates, the largest pediatric office in Rowan County, are overweight or obese.  The Trust for America’s Health 2010 report ranks North Carolina with the 11th highest rate of overweight children (ages 10-17) in the nation at 18.6%.  In a proactive response to the growing need to educate children on the benefits of being active and eating healthy, the YMCA in partnership with the Salisbury-Rowan Runners Club kicked off the YMCA Kid’s Club – After School Fit and Healthy Program during the 2005-2006 school year.  The main objective of the program is to have 100% participation by the children in the after school program.  Completing its fifth year, the “Kid’s Club” program has proven to be a valuable addition to the community’s Activate America programming.  By teaming up with volunteers from the Salisbury-Rowan Runners Club and personnel from Rowan Regional Medical Center, the organizations involved have been able to introduce over 360 kids in the after school programs at the Y to an organized physical activity and nutrition program.

About the RRCA: Kids Run the Nation Program:

The RRCA: Kids Run the Nation Program is a turn-key, multi-week, gender neutral, youth running program designed for children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. The RRCA’s vision is to see a locally-managed, youth running program in every grade school in America.  The RRCA pursues the program’s goal by providing an affordable, turnkey youth running program and small grant funding for youth programs throughout the US.  Learn more about the program at  Starting in 2011, the RRCA Board will provide for two rounds of Kids Run the Nation grants.  In the spring, the RRCA will fund a round of $5,000+ worth of grants to coincide with spring programs.  In the fall, the RRCA will fund a second round of grants totaling $5,000+ to coincide with programs that kick-off as the new school year starts.  The application deadline to be considered for a Spring Kids Run the Nation Grant will be March 1.  The application deadline to be considered for a Fall Kids Run the Nation Grant will be September 1.  The revised online application form will launch in January 2011.  The Kids Run the Nation program and the Kids Run the Nation Fund also furthers the goals of the National Physical Activity Plan by linking youth with physical activity opportunities in schools and communities and providing affordable physical activity opportunities for youth.

About the Road Runners Club of America:
Founded in 1958, the RRCA is the oldest and largest national association of running clubs, running events, and runners.  The mission of the RRCA is to promote running as healthy exercise and as a competitive sport.  The RRCA achieves their mission by promoting the common interests of its members by providing educational opportunities, turnkey programs, and services.



All Kids Run the Nation grants are funded through generous contributions from running clubs, events, individual donors, and corporations.  Please consider making a contribution to the Kids Run the Nation Fund, today!  100% of all Kids Run the Nation contributions are restricted to the Fund and no administration costs are charged to the fund. Contributions to the Kids Run the Nation Fund are tax deductible.  Give today!


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