Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We Run This City Program Back for 7th Year with Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

Program involves more than 700 students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District

CLEVELAND - (April 5, 2012) - A record number of student runners from across a wide range of Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) schools will take to the streets Sunday, May 20 as part of the We Run This City program in conjunction with the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Launched in 2006 with 80 students from seven CMSD schools, the program has grown to involve 35 schools and more than 700 students in training.

"We Run This City represents everything that is right about the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and running in general," said Ralph Staph, Race Director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. "Not only are these students learning about the importance of physical fitness and regular exercise, but they are also acquiring life skills that will help them handle whatever hurdles they may encounter as they grow older."

We Run This City is a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, the Cleveland Department of Public Health and the Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. Student runners train during a 14-week period to participate in one of four race options: a 1.2 mile run on race day to complete a "marathon" after accumulating 25 training miles from March through May; the 10K (6.2 miles), the half-marathon (13.1 miles) or the full marathon (26.2 miles). This year, an anticipated 550 student runners will complete the 1.2 mile race, with an additional 125 running the 10K, 35 half-marathoners and five student runners competing in the full marathon.

The students completing the 1.2-mile race will join the course on St. Clair Ave. at approximately noon on race day and run through the finish line in front of Cleveland Browns Stadium. In 2011, Nathan Burton became the first student to compete in the full marathon, finishing in a time of 4:05:05.

"The physical fitness benefits of this program were an obvious goal from the start," said Tara Taylor, Training Director of the We Run This City program. "However, what has really surprised us has been the marked improvement in our students' self-confidence and their willingness to get up off the couch and go outside and play when on their own time. The fact that participation in the program has grown nearly 800 percent in seven years is amazing, but we want to see even more students get involved."

We Run This City is loosely modeled after the Students Run LA program that began primarily as a youth violence deterrent program. Cleveland's youth marathon program is focused on teaching goal setting and helping student runners discover the discipline required to achieve their objectives. It is also concerned with helping CMSD students improve their overall physical conditioning.

CMSD Physical Education teachers enlist student runners and serve as the coach of their school's team, assisted by YMCA fitness staff members. Training logs are distributed to all student runners in which they record their daily mileage and weekly physical activity goals.

Students undergo detailed pre-training and post-race assessments including a series of non-invasive screening tests such as blood pressure, strength and general conditioning. For those participating in the program for two years in a row, the rate of students found to be either hypertensive or pre-hypertensive was reduced by nearly 67 percent.

The students run in practice races to learn race etiquette and participate in conditioning clinics at the Downtown YMCA. Student runners are also provided with a pair of good running shoes, race day t-shirts and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon spinning guitar finisher's medal.

To learn more about the We Run This City program, visit: www.clevelandymca.org/community/marathon/index.html

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon weekend begins Friday, May 18 with the Health & Fitness Expo presented by Prayers From Maria Children's Glioma Cancer Foundation at the International Exposition (I-X) Center. The 5K presented by the Organization for Autism Research and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Red Nose Children's Run highlight Saturday's activities, while Sunday's events include the marathon, half-marathon, 10K and 26.3 Mile Finish Line Rock Party. To register for any of the events, or learn more, go to: www.clevelandmarathon.com

Last year, both the full marathon and half-marathon sold out and the 10K and 5K came close to reaching their respective caps as well, with 18,300 people competing over the course of the weekend. Race organizers are expecting close to 20,000 participants for the 35th edition in May.

There are additional opportunities for non-profit organizations to raise funds through their participation in the race through Cleveland Marathon Charities, for which information can also be found on the marathon's website.

About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is in its 35th year of providing a fitness experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. The event offers a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon - all of which participants can choose to run or walk. More than 350,000 runners have participated, generating more than $15 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.

this article Courtesy of Running USA wire

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