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Fort Wayne Kid’s Marathon helps kids go the distance

Running 26.2 miles one week at a time

By Michael Summers

michael_summers@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2005-09-05


Confucius said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same holds true of a 26.2 mile run, except most people probably find a thousand mile walk a lot less intimidating than running a marathon.

The trick is to take it one mile at a time, and that’s what a new program called the Fort Wayne Kid’s Marathon aims to do for kids up to 8th grade. It’s a 10-week incremental program where over a number of weeks, in 1 – 3-mile segments, the kids will run 26.2 miles. The last mile would be run in coordination with Canterbury School’s annual Associated Churches Food Bank 5k run/walk on October 8th. “They’ll run a similar course, but not the exact same course as the 5k,” says Tim Newlin, who organized the program along with a team of friends who run together. “They don’t need to run the 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).”

The Fort Wayne Kid’s Marathon has been meeting every Wednesday night at 6 pm at the Jorgensen YMCA at 10313 Aboite Center Road. The first meeting was on August 3rd, but Newlin says they’re still accepting registration, and kids can join the program at any time.

The response has been tremendous, and includes kids from all over the city. “We have just north of 80 kids who have signed up,” says Newlin, adding that the number has surpassed his expectations.

The oldest runners are around 13 (8th grade); the youngest is just 4. Each of the runners will get a marathon finishers medal and a t-shirt when the program is completed on October 8th.

“We’re using the honor system as far as tracking the miles,” Newlin says. “We’ve given each of the runners a mileage card they can log their miles on. For those kids who can’t make it (to the Wednesday night run at the Jorgenson Y), or the younger kids who need to do a little extra running throughout the week, they can do that on their own or with their parents.”

Besides benefiting the Associated Churches Food Bank with the final segment of the run, part of the larger purpose of the program is to encourage healthy habits and show how much can be accomplished by setting small goals and tackling them one at a time. “Hopefully what the kids can learn is that even though a marathon distance of 26.2 miles seems completely out of reach for them, if they do it one step at a time, one mile at a time, they’ll become stronger and they’ll be able to do it,” Newlin says.

Newlin says he’s hoping to make the Fort Wayne Kid’s Marathon an annual event.

Fort Wayne Kids Marathon meets every Wednesday at the Jorgensen YMCA, 10313 Aboite Center Road, at 6 pm.

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