YAKIMA, WA -- More than 200 kids from the West Valley School District in Yakima, WA, participated in the first annual Fitness For Kids Marathon on Sunday. The Yakima Hardcore Runners Club hosted the event, which is aimed at getting elementary students more involved in physical fitness.
The students ran or walked the first 25 miles of the marathon over the past three months under adult supervision. The final 1.2 miles of the marathon took place Sunday at West Valley Community Park, KNDO-TV reported.
Students in Camille Rimmer’s first-grade class at Summitview Elementary in Yakima have been practicing for the event. Every morning, Rimmer and the students go on a half-mile run around the school, up a small hill, around a berm and back to the classroom, The Yakima Herald-Republic reported.
Rimmer herself runs about 50 miles a week, and completed the recent Boston Marathon in 4 hours, 18 minutes, 5 seconds. She also rides a bike and lifts weights in a gym about three hours a week.
“It enables them to see adults as active people. And then they will want to be active people,” Rimmer tells the newspaper. “I just open the door and say, ‘Here we go.’ I do it with them. I don’t just send them out the door.”
In March 2007, the Washington state legislature passed a law establishing goals for youth nutrition and access to physical fitness, the newspaper reported. The law also launched the start of efforts toward comprehensive school health reform.
In January, the Yakima Health District was awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant for a program called Rev It Up, which connects the health community with schools, teaching kids to eat better and exercise more.
Barry James, president of the Yakima Hard Core Runner’s Club and a second-grade teacher in the West Valley School District, tells the newspaper that he hopes to attract more schools to the Fitness For Kids Marathon and get parents more involved.