Lincoln, Neb. —More than 5,000 miles ran over the course of the summer by kids who participated in Nebraska Extension Marathon Kids. More than 200 runners signed up for the summer program and 70 runners completed marathons.
Marathon Kids is a national running program designed to motivate kids by utilizing running logs, boost their activity, and introduce them to the joy of running! The goal for the program is for youth and their families to become more active and gain confidence through running. Whether the participants run, walk, or even skip – a mile is a mile, and being physically active is so good for their health.
During the Nebraska Extension Marathon Kids 2022 summer virtual running program, Extension professionals teach the young runners about goal setting, tracking miles, hydration, eating healthy and so much more. They also have created special challenges during the 9-week program which encourage the participants to set goals and then achieve them.
Of the 200 participants, one runner completed 350 miles. Ethan Heilbrun, a seventh grader from Scottsbluff, set the goal to complete 350 miles over the course of the program, and he did it. Heilbrun is an active kid and has always enjoyed running. He said, “Your size and shape don’t matter when you run, as long as your mind and your heart and your feet can agree on the goal and work together to get there.”
Nebraska Extension Marathon Kids Coach Donnia Behrends said that “All of the runners from the summer virtual running program did a fantastic job this year, especially Ethan! Ethan is an example of the ultimate marathon kid, he set a big goal, tracked his miles, and was determined to accomplish his goal!”
At the end of the program, the runners send in their mileage logs and then are entered to win a grand prize. This year, participants who ran a marathon had a chance to win a Hydroflask water bottle or a Fitbit.
The program is a virtual running club that takes place over the summer months for youth and families across Nebraska and is sponsored by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Nutrition Education Program. Parents who have children that may be interested in participating in 2023 can find out more information by visiting food.unl.edu/marathon-kids