Oct. 26, 2011
UCLA Athletics hosted the Sixth Annual Marathon Kids Kick-Off Celebration Oct. 22 at Drake Stadium. Over five thousand kindergarten through 5th graders, their families and teachers from around the greater Los Angeles Area attended the event.
Head women's Track & Field Coach Jeanette Bolden was on hand to welcome the participants and kick off the event, and several UCLA student-athletes volunteered to help with the start line and surrounded the track to cheer on the participants as they ran their first lap. Participants were rewarded with water bottles, stickers, UCLA posters and autographs from Bruin student-athletes.
The annual Kick Off Celebration marks the beginning of the five-month program that encourages children to learn to live an active and healthy lifestyle. During the five-month period, participants, accompanied by their parents, will run or walk quarter to half-mile segments towards their goal of the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. In addition to the running, they are encouraged to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and even learn to grow fruits and veggies. Participants are invited to come back to UCLA for the Final Mile Medal Celebration at Drake Stadium on Saturday, March 10, 2012.
"I'm encouraged with the growth of Marathon Kids over the past six years," said Bolden. "It's wonderful to see kids and their families embracing an active life style. We are also thankful to the many teachers and parents who play a important role in this process. The UCLA Athletic Department has embraced this program, and I look forward to its continued success."
Marathon Kids® is a 16 year-old non-profit organization that targets children most vulnerable to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Birthed as a grassroots initiative, it is now in several Texas cities (Austin, Dallas, Houston, Rio Grande Valley), as well as Baltimore and Chicago. There are over 250,000 kindergarten through 5th graders now participating in the nationally recognized, free Marathon Kids Program.
For more information on Marathon Kids, please visit www.marathonkids.org.