Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler Engages New Audience with Global Youth Service Day

Youth volunteers from communities throughout Roanoke are helping plan the annual fun run.

Everyone can participate in the excitement of race day during “America’s Toughest Road Marathon.” Carilion Children’s and Family Service of Roanoke Valley, who organize the Global Youth Service Day in Roanoke, have partnered to host the third annual Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler in conjunction with the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon on Saturday, April 21 in Elmwood Park.

Global Youth Service Day is known as the world’s largest youth service event in the world. The annual event celebrates and mobilizes millions of young people who focus on improving their own communities through service. As part of Global Youth Service Day, children from under-served areas throughout the region are actually helping to organize the fun run.

“When Family Service reached out to us about pairing Global Youth Service Day with our event we thought it was a perfect fit,” said Julia Boas, event manager of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon. “The middle school kids and teenagers who have been helping to organize the Family 1 Miler this year have blown us away with their creativity and enthusiasm. They are doing everything from designing the shirts and posters, to emceeing the race start.”

Another goal of the partnership will be to provide grants to families and athletes interested in running on race day. Thanks to Carilion Clinic, 50 family entries and 30 entries for the full marathon, half marathon, or 10k distances will be available at no cost to participants.

“One of our goals is to involve youth and families who have not traditionally been asked to volunteer or participate in the races,” said Karen Pillis, the youth development director at Family Service of Roanoke Valley. She hopes youth volunteers, “will witness the magnitude of an event that is almost all volunteer executed while engaging them in a variety of healthy activities in our community.”

The Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler is open to families with kids of all ages, and is a non-competitive event. The run starts right after the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon at 7:35 a.m. on April 21, so kids can experience the thrill that comes with a big-time race. Families participating in the event will have their own corral start on Jefferson to ensure the safety of all participants.

Everyone who participates will receive a race shirt and finisher’s medal. The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon will also have a wide array of activities in Elmwood Park open to the public with race-related vendors, free live music, craft beer, food trucks, and more starting at 9 a.m.

Proceeds of the 2018 Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler benefit the Roanoke Outside Foundation and Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

The cost to participate is $12 for adults, $8 per child, or $35 for a family (4+ participants) and children under 2 are free.  Carilion Clinic is offering runner grants to families who cannot afford the registration fee. Please email Sarah Jane Lawrence ([email protected]) with Family Service to inquire about Carilion Clinic runner grants.

To register for the Carilion Children’s Family 1 Miler or any other distance, visit

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