KiDSMARATHON: Let’s Get Moving in 2016

Ever since First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Campaign” was announced, children’s health, and childhood obesity in particular, has taken center stage. And for good reason. We’ve all heard the statistics: one in three children are either overweight or obese, with even higher rates among African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. One in three children will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. The cost to our economy is staggering – somewhere near $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions.

But wait. There’s a way to help our kids right here in Connecticut right now.

KiDSMARATHON, a program that enables kids, ages 7-12, to complete a full marathon by running incremental distances each week leading up to the finish in front of hundreds of fans, is accepting registrations for the 2016 program. Structured around an eight to ten week training program which can take place before, during, or after school, kids follow a booklet of healthy living suggestions while keeping track of their mileage toward the 26.2 mile goal. The program’s author is Rod Dixon, a former long distance runner from New Zealand and winner of the New York City marathon. Schools can begin and implement the program in a variety of settings, but the ideal start time is the third week of March.

In reality, perhaps schools should make sure that their kids are running before the state tests as the latest research shows that regular running benefits the brain in numerous ways! John Ratey, professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, notes, “Exercise helps memory retention and all the learning functions especially in children’s growing brains.” Another study by Charles Hillman, professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois, pointed out “a clear connection between exercise and academic performance”. Hillman elaborates further, “children ages 7-11 who exercised 40 minutes a day had academic improvement gains over those who only exercised 20 minutes a day.”

“So let’s get our elementary and middle school kids moving in 2016 in their PE classes, in running clubs before and after school, and at recess, notes CAS Assistant Director, Dave Maloney. “The beauty of KiDSMARATHON is that it doesn’t infringe on what is an already overcrowded curriculum. It can be implemented in virtually any format that the local school chooses.”

“KiDSMARATHON is very doable, particularly for kids who haven’t been very active,” adds Janice Mayernan, PE/Health instructor in Fairfield. Mayeran describes her greatest memory when some of her students ran extra laps to help encourage a girl who was struggling to complete her third lap at the Cheshire celebration. “My kids had huge smiles on their faces knowing that they were offering support to a fellow student who they didn’t even know. It really warmed my heart!”

Watch the YouTube video below and/or check out this website for a first-hand look at Connecticut’s KiDSMARATHON program.


The CAS KiDSMARATHON Committee has set up the following sites for the 2016 celebrations:

  • Cheshire – May 14th
  • Danbury ‐ June 4th
  • Glastonbury High School – May 22nd
  • Torrington High School – June 7th
  • Trumbull – May 22nd
  • South Windsor – June 1
  • E.O. Smith High School – June 4th
  • Waterbury – June 2nd
  • Waterford High School – June 4

Schools can participate in one of the above events or plan their own celebration, whichever suits their program best. Participants may choose between two registration options: $10 per student for the complete package which includes a certificate, a beautiful T-shirt, and a replica Olympic Medal and 26.2 sticker; OR, $5 per student which includes everything except the T-shirt.

A one-page information flyer is available for download.

The direct link to register is

Inquiries to Dave Maloney at CAS, 203-250-1111 or via email at dmaloneyatcasciacdotorg.