Healthy Kids celebration set for Geneva
A group that spent the past 10 years sponsoring races to get children out running is celebrating with a party Sunday in Geneva.
The Healthy Kids Running Series is marking its anniversary with "10 Fest Chicago" at 2 p.m. at Northwestern Medicine Field, 300 Randall Road in Geneva.
Healthy Kids has youths ages 2 through 14 compete in age-appropriate races in an effort to help youngsters understand "they need to be moving, they need to be active," according to Jeff Long, the group's founder.
Long, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, said he's always had a passion for running and felt it was important to get kids involved.
He developed the Healthy Kids Running Series in 2009 with a model that could be duplicated anywhere.
The series includes races on five consecutive Sundays in which runners earn points, including one just for finishing. At the end of the season, the top scorers win awards.
"It's like the Little League of running," Long said.
The group expects to have 80,000 kids running nationwide next year. "We double in size every two years, "Long said.
Some runners who had bad experiences with team sports succeed in the program, Long said. The crowd celebrates every runner's accomplishments.
"I'm always delighted to see there is as much cheering for the kid in the back as the one in front," he said.
Sunday's "10 Fest Chicago" event is the third installment of regional celebrations for Healthy Kid's anniversary. Activities will include moon bounces, face painting and a series of races in which kids from different areas compete. But anyone can run.
"It's an opportunity for kids who have never run in a series before," Long said.
Registration is at HealthyKidsRunningSeries.org. Participants receive a Healthy Kids Running Series 10 Fest T-shirt and an RXBar.