AUSTIN, TX – The USATF Foundation partnered with Marathon Kids to bring the USATF Foundation’s youth program Run With US! to five Austin, Texas elementary schools that participate in the Marathon Kids program.

545The five Austin elementary schools, all part of the Austin Independent School District (Austin ISD), that were chosen to participate in the pilot week of Run With US! at Marathon Kids included:  Maplewood Elementary, TA Brown Elementary, Oak Springs Elementary, Ortega Elementary, and Pillow Elementary. Over 1,000 kids received the inspiring opportunity to learn from, meet, and exercise with USATF Foundation athletes.

The athletes who served as Foundation athlete mentors were Olympian hammer thrower Amanda Bingson and Olympic hopeful and 2012 Olympic Trials champion javelin thrower Sam Humphreys. The athletes’ sheer presence at the school lit up the smiling faces of the hundreds of impressionable kids. It was a joyous occasion for everyone involved, including the athletes who dedicated their time to give back in the community.

693“Thank you so much to the USA Track & Field Foundation & Marathon Kids for bringing Sam Humphreys and Amanda Bingson to Pillow Elementary. As a Title I campus, our students face an opportunity gap that we try hard to close every day. This was one of those opportunities. Our students loved hearing an inspirational message from actual professional track & field athletes and it was very motivating for them as a precursor to our campus fun run that day! Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving our students this opportunity,” exclaimed Brian Hill, Principal, Dorinda Pillow Elementary School.

At each school, positive messaging was shared by the athletes about what it means to be a professional track & field athlete, how much time and effort goes into making your dreams come true, and that anything is possible if you work hard enough to achieve your goals. The children learned about the athletes healthy eating habits, how they create goals and commit to reaching them, and heard stories of determination and resilience.  The athletes also introduced the kids to the USATF Foundation’s free mobile exer-game app that can be used at home to stay active.

“Our shared vision to improve the health and well-being of kids through track & field was certainly the catalyst for Run With US! at Marathon Kids,” Foundation Director Ashley Wright said. “Using US Olympians and Olympic hopefuls to introduce the program and mentor kids along the way makes running come to life as something more than a way to stay in shape, but also as a story of hard work and commitment, a story of Olympic sized dreams coming true, and a friendly face that kids can look up to in their classroom. Run With US! at Marathon Kids gives kids a hard goal, but provides athlete mentors to support them. In this case, US Olympians are often cheering for kids – a memory that’s sure to last a lifetime encouraging kids to face challenging obstacles they may face on the track or in the classroom.”718

After the presentation portion of the event at each school, Bingson and Humphreys joined the children outside to cheer them on and run with them as they completed mileage for their Marathon Kids run clubs. Run With US! at Marathon kids has great potential to affect kids not only throughout the Austin area but at Marathon Kids programs across the country where USATF Foundation athletes are eager to give back in their communities.

About Marathon Kids

Marathon Kids is a nonprofit born out of the belief that kids deserve to live happier, healthier lives – and that we have the ability to make that possible. Kids everywhere need more access to physical activity, and Marathon Kids has built a program, community and movement to get them running. Any motivated adult can start a running club at any school, organization, neighborhood or even at home for just $15 per participant.

For more information, visit marathonkids.org