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Our Mission and History
Marathon Kids was founded by self-described "middle-aged slow runner" Kay Morris in 1995 as a for-profit sole proprietor-ship in Austin, TX. After finding herself enthusiastically running and filling in a running log from her latest issue of Runner's World Magazine, the idea struck her - maybe this simple concept would help children run more and experience the joy of physical activity! With the support of founding financial sponsor Paul Carrozza and Run Tex Stores an estimated 2,000 Austin elementary school children participated in Marathon Kids' first program year.
Marathon Kids became a registered 501(c)(3) charity in 2004 and steadily grew beyond Austin, to Dallas, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, Los Angeles, Baltimore and El Paso which comprise the "Marquee City" service areas. In 2012, Marathon Kids piloted a scalable program model in six additional Texas towns and cities; Lubbock, Abilene, Wichita Falls, Waco, Ft. Worth and Marshall. Last year, over 286,000 K-5th graders accepted the 26.2 mile challenge with the support and guidance of over 1,000 teachers who administrate the program in their elementary schools.
Who We Are & What We Do...
Marathon Kids believes children want to be healthy and active. In a supportive environment and with encouragement and know-how, children will make healthy choices. Through school-based programming and a family-based initiative, Marathon Kids:
- Gets kids, teachers, and families moving through the 26.2 Mile Challenge
- Promotes positive nutritional habits to fuel healthy minds and bodies
- Provides tools and resources to motivate and support families and communities in their health goals
Marathon Kids changes behaviors for the better.
Studies by the University of Texas School of Public Health, in coordination with the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, found that children who participate in Marathon Kids:
- choose to engage in more habitual minutes of daily exercise
- eat more fruits and vegetables
- have improved self-confidence
By setting a goal and achieving it, Marathon Kids participants of all fitness levels and physical abilities gain not only more confidence in being physically active but also a world-class sense of accomplishment. Both stoke the desire to continue with physical activity and create healthy habits that last a lifetime.
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