Hundreds of Children Expected in YMCA Kids Marathon

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Children are led in stretches before last year’s marathon.
Children are led in stretches before last year’s marathon.

Registration is now open for kids in grades K-5 to participate in the YMCA of Roanoke Valley’s 3rd Annual YMCA Kids Marathon presented by Chick-fil-a on Saturday, April 21, 2012.  This non-timed, non-competitive event is an opportunity for young runners and walkers to participate in a marathon made just for kids.

Participants complete 25.2 miles on their own prior to race day and then finish the last mile together on race day, April 21, beginning at the Kirk Family YMCA, threading through the streets of downtown Roanoke, and finishing behind the Taubman Museum of Art. The young marathoners will cross the same finish line as the elite athletes participating in the Blue Ridge Marathon Finish line later that morning.  YMCA staff and volunteers will be on hand race day to guide and cheer on the marathoners through the closed streets in downtown Roanoke.

YMCA of Roanoke Valley’s Executive Director Cal Johnson said, The YMCA Kids Marathon is designed to keep kids and their families active all winter long.  It’s a great way to encourage kids to develop a healthy lifestyle when it is most important.

To help young runners, the Y provides tips on other activities kids can do to clock miles like jump roping, rollerblading and dancing. Fun runs with local celebrities, including the famous Chick-fil-Acows, will be scheduled at location throughout the Valley and at the Kirk Family and Salem Family YMCAs.

Registration is open at www.BlueRidgeMarathon.com. The entry fee is $20 before February 29 and $25 thereafter.  There is a $5 discount for each additional child in the same family.

All participants will receive a race shirt, race number bib, finisher’s medal and goodie bag. The first 300 kids to register will also receive a pedometer to keep track of the miles they rack up prior to the race. Pedometers and tracking forms may be picked up at the Kirk Family YMCA, the Gainsboro Family YMCA or the Salem Family YMCA. More information and tracking forms are at www.ymcaroanoke.org.

Following the marathon, kids are invited to the Y’s Healthy Kids Day from 9 a.m. to noon at the Kirk Family YMCA. The FREE event open to the community will include an inflatable obstacle course, games, swimming and giveaways.

The YMCA of Roanoke Valley was founded in 1883 and includes Kirk Family YMCA, Salem Family YMCA, Gainsboro Family YMCA and the YMCA Magic Place. The YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in its mission throughout the Valley.

For more info on the YMCA, visit www.ymcaroanoke.org.