Case Western Reserve University’s Prevention Research Center for Health Neighborhoods have teamed up to help 650 Cleveland Metropolitan School District students prepare to run in the Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon.
The program is targeted at all kids, not just athletes, and nearly 40% of this year’s participants are considered overweight. Program Director Tara Taylor has stated that, in addition to helping kids increase their physical activity, the program can help kids learn to set and achieve goals.
Starting in 2006 with just 81 middle school students, the program has grown to over 600 participating students in 2010. The program is offered for free to schools and lasts for 12-14 weeks, during which students run 25 miles with the final 1.2 run during the marathon itself. This year, YMCA staff, CMSD nurses, Case Western Reserve University students and other volunteers screened 650 students for BMI, blood pressures and a wide variety of body composition measures.