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Good Heath and Good Habits Touted in Kids Marathon

Jun 18, 2009

PRINCETON, NJ - More than 250 children gathered on the Princeton University campus June 7 to complete the final 1.2-mile leg of the Princeton HealthCare KIDS MARATHON - a 26.2-mile run that young participants gradually conquered over 10 weeks.

The Princeton HealthCare KIDS MARATHON was launched this year by the Auxiliary of University Medical Center of Princeton to promote good health, combat obesity and help children incorporate fitness into their daily routines.

Kids Marathon start 2009

Children take off for the final, 1.2-mile leg of the Princeton HealthCare KIDS MARATON held Sunday, June 7, on the Princeton University campus. Photo Credit: Leigha Emma Cohen

The runners, ranging from kindergarteners to eighth graders, were given a number of ideas for tackling the 26.2 miles, such as going on regular walks or runs with friends and family, walking or jogging to school, and playing and practicing sports. To keep them motivated, the Auxiliary regularly mailed the runners charms that celebrated every five miles completed.

In addition to promoting good health, the Auxiliary designed the marathon to promote community involvement.

Participants helped raise funds for a children's play area at a new regional hospital now under construction, the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. Each child was encouraged to find 10 sponsors to contribute $1 per-mile, for a $26 pledge. Each child who raised $260 or more will get their name inscribed on a plaque displayed in the new play area.  Furthermore, children were also encouraged to complete 26 "Green Deeds" to help the environment.

The June 7 event also welcomed children who had not participated in the KIDS MARATHON by letting them complete the 1.2-mile course as a "fun run."

Kids Marahton Cranbury kids 2009

From left to right, Grace Cooke, 7, sister Erin, 5, and brother Paul, 9, of Cranbury, recover from the final 1.2-mile leg of the Princeton HealthCare KIDS MARATHON. Photo Credit: Leigha Emma Cohen.

Children were met at the finish line with medals and Mylar blankets - the shiny, metallic wrapping typically given to marathon runners after a race.

"There was an energy from the children and the parents, and a real sense of accomplishment as kids crossed the finish line and were given their medals," said event co-chair Amy Rabner. "Kids were able to see that they can have fun outdoors doing a very simple activity that only requires a pair of sneakers. And hopefully we've started a habit that will last a lifetime."

The KIDS MARATHON will return in 2010.

For additional information about the KIDS MARATHON or the Auxiliary of University Medical Center at Princeton, call (609) 497-4069.