Support Your Local United Way

Healthy Kids Community Activation Center - Start a Kids Running Club

Running clubs provide kids with a safe, fun way to get exercise. Many kids start out only able to walk a few hundred yards. With perseverance and support, they are soon running and loving it!

Are you more a "slogger" than a jogger? That's okay. You can still get things up and running.

How to Get Started ...

  • Enlist the help of adult runners. PE teachers, coaches or experts at a local running store are great sources to help, or they can tap into their networks of other runners. For example, they will help you-
    • Map safe routes of different lengths
    • Supervise training runs that are challenging but do-able
    • Advise kids about proper hydration and nutrition.
  • Prepare the kids. If just a handful of kids are interested, start small! Each kid should have a signed permission slip (as they do for other field trips and extracurricular activities) and well-fitting shoes and socks.
  • Get hoofing! Some kids begin with very little endurance. Start with walking, or combinations of walking and running, even just a few minutes at a time. After each work-out, the kids can record their progress and set goals for the future.
  • Offer suggestions for in-between. Give kids ideas for stretching and aerobic exercises if they cannot run on their own between sessions. For example, they can run in place or jump rope at home. They can stretch every day for 10 minutes to remain limber.
  • Sign up for fun runs. A run/race gives kids a goal-not to mention, a burst of adrenalin to run with others and receive a cool sticker or tee-shirt. Many local United Ways sponsor community fun runs with events for kids.

Remember to emphasize fitness and fun. This isn't boot camp or a way to develop future Olympians-it's a way to build stamina and fitness over time.

To Learn More ....

Communities across the country have kids' running programs. Connect your young runners with one of them, or find out how they are organized. Kids Running (http://www.kidsrunning.com) has a list of many clubs, as well as tips to start your own group.

Or Consider This ...

Many local United Ways support fun runs or walks, often with shorter distances and special recognition for kids. Join in!

You can also contribute money, gift cards to purchase shoes or your time to an existing kids' running club in your community.

Share with Others ...

Already have kids up and running? Tell us about your running club.