The OC Marathon Foundation’s “Kids Run the OC Program” Wins Running USA Youth Program of the Year Award

March 12, 2019

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Mar. 12, 2019) – The OC Marathon Foundation’s “Kids Run the OC” program, one of the nation’s largest youth running and fitness programs with more than 65,000 students participating since inception in 2004, was named Youth Program of the Year by Running USA at its annual conference in Puerto Rico this month. The non-profit 501(c) (3) program, which was created as the centerpiece of the OC Marathon Foundation to promote health and fitness among school-age children, was awarded a $10,000 grant to help grow the effort, provide scholarships to low-income students, and help offset costs for additional certified coaches and staff.

“Each year, the Running USA Youth Program grant award recognizes a very deserving effort to get the keep children running, for fun, fitness and health,” said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO. “We’re so pleased to welcome Kids Run the OC to the ranks of award winners in recognition for the tremendous strides they’ve made introducing running to the children of Orange County and beyond.”

The 10-week, in-school program enlists the aid of approximately 250, Kids Run the OC-trained, volunteer parents, teachers and school officials to serve as coaches. Using a grade level-specific KIDS RUN Activity and KidsFit Card Curriculum and Schedule, the coaches lead 60, at-school sessions filled with fun aerobic games and running-based activities.

By following the 10 weeks of activities at the school, the student participants accumulate 25.2 miles of running activities without any sophisticated tracking required. If they choose to register, they may complete their “marathon” at the KROC Final Mile Run event at the annual OC Running Festival or at a school/coach-hosted final mile at their program site. Also included in the program are Nutritional Challenges, which promote and reinforce healthy diet and nutrition choices through behavior modification activities to be done at home, thus incorporating the entire family into the desired obesity prevention objectives of the program.

“It is such an honor to have our Kids Run the OC program recognized in this way by our colleagues and friends at Running USA,” said Kelsey Beall, program director of the OC Marathon Foundation. “Last year, more than 20,000 children from 150 schools and educational agencies benefitted from the program in our local community with 9,200 children registering for the Final Mile event during the OC Running Festival. This year, we anticipate that those numbers will increase as word continues to spread about how fun and inspirational it is for students, their families and the volunteer coaches.”

The 15th annual OC Running Festival, which will be held from May 3 to 5, 2019, is a world-class, three-day event that attracts more than 23,000 participants from 46 states and 22 countries. This year, the Kids Run the OC “Final Mile” will be held on Saturday, May 4, and is sponsored by Annie’s Homegrown, MemorialCare Medical Group and Mother’s Market.

About the OC Running Festival

Now in its 15th year, the 2019 OC Running Festival is a world-class event featuring the SDCCU OC Marathon and Half-Marathon, the OC 5k, the Kids Run the OC Final Mile, the Ultimate Finish Line Festival, and the OC Lifestyle and Fitness Expo, all held at the Orange County Fair and Events Center in Costa Mesa, California, from May 3 to 5, 2019. The marathon and half-marathon is one of the best destination courses on the West Coast with a diverse terrain, changing coastal and inland vistas, and majestic ocean views. During the weekend, more than 23,000 participants, including nearly 10,000 children, will enjoy food, music and other family-fun entertainment.

To register for the races, or for more information about how to get involved including corporate sponsorships, visit ocmarathon.com, @OCMarathon, or email [email protected].

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