Dade Middle Schools Converge on Streets of Downtown for Kids Run Miami at Life Time Miami Marathon
More than 5,000 Dade County middle school students will run the final 1.2 miles of the 2014 Kids Run Miami, formerly known as the Run For Something Better, on Sunday February 2 as part of festivities at the Life Time Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon, produced and presented by Life Time - The Healthy Way of Life Company (NYSE: LTM).
The students have been training for the past several months as part of the 11-year-old program that is designed to promote health and fitness to kids. The run will begin near the steps of the county courthouse at 11 a.m. and wind down Flagler Street to the Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon finish line, where the kids will enjoy the experience of finishing through the half-marathon chute.
"Through Physical Education, students train for the Kids Run Miami program," said Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director for Physical Education and Health Literacy for Dade County Schools. "The program began as a goal-setting program. It not only teaches you about the importance of being physically active, but also how to set a goal, work hard toward your goal and to achieve your goal. "If you can set a goal to be physically active every day, you can take that same goal-setting and apply it to everything that you do. We are trying to apply it to teachers, administrators, custodians, and cafeteria staffs. We want everybody in Miami-Dade Schools to be healthy."
Aetna, which has a long-standing history of supporting health and fitness initiatives throughout the South Florida community, is the official health insurance partner for the Kids Run Miami and title sponsor of the Kids Coral at the starting line.
"As a company, we place particular emphasis on children's wellness and are committed to initiatives that encourage kids to stay active," said Christopher Ciano, president of Aetna's Florida Operations. "This partnership with Kids Run Miami is an ideal complement to our Better Health for Kids program, which helps advance children's wellness by promoting the importance of outdoor play and good nutrition. Targeting children is so important because you are empowering them, at an early age, to develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime."
The Miami program for kids began in 2003 with a few hundred Dade County middle school students and has grown every year. Now the swarm of youngsters racing to the finish line is as much a part of South Florida's largest distance running event as the Marathon itself. The kids participating in the Kids Run Miami have executed a 15-week training program at their respective schools, running a minimum of 25 miles over that period of time. The 1.2 mile finale is a celebration run of their participation in the program. While there are 5,000 kids running the final mile on race day, 11,000 students are participating in the program at their school.
"We love that this program positively affects a section of our education system that is constantly having its funds reduced," said Miami Marathon Race Co-Founder Frankie Ruiz. "Physical education programs are a necessary extension of the classroom for both social and health reasons and promoting running at in the schools can be the basis for that extension for all sports and fitness related activities. These middle schoolers will better understand running under the format of the Kids Run Miami program and this should help disassociate the stigma that running is a punishment but instead it is something one can enjoy and have fun doing."