The American Running Association (ARA) and its medical division, the American Medical Athletic Association, are united in efforts to deter youth obesity in the U.S. and promote higher levels of physical activity for school-age youth. Donations made to ARA and AMAA's Youth Fitness Fund will benefit national RUN A MILE DAYS, held annually in May. Funds will support distribution of free materials such as the 8-week walk/run training schedule and posters, as well as help with onsite activities during the week-long event. Support for the ARA/AMAA Youth Fitness Fund will help expand the organizations' efforts to increase the number of grass-roots youth running events nationwide.
As a kid, I loved sports but was never an athlete. Awkward, uncoordinated, and overweight, I was the kid who was always picked last, played the least, and was really good at keeping the scorebook at baseball games. I was somehow destined to lead an inactive life from that point on.
I am now 45 years old and began my "running career" in October 2011. Looking for an alternative to being cooped up and feeling generally uncomfortable in a smelly gym, I mainly viewed running as way to lose some weight and put an unhealthy lifestyle full of bad habits and bad choices behind me. Inspired by a co-worker, I started with one mile on a treadmill and an entry into my first race (a Thanksgiving 5k). Since that day in mid-October 2011 and 85 pounds later, I have run 7 marathons (including Boston in 2013 and 2014 also for charity) and dozens of other races from 5ks to half marathons. I am addicted to it. It provides me a real sense of accomplishment, confidence, and, most of all, the best health I have been in my entire life. I can honestly say, without question, that some day I will look back and realize I owe my life to it. From fat kid to marathoner. If I can do it anyone can.
One of the most important things has been, along with my wife, making my children aware of healthy food choices, the value of exercise, and feeling good about themselves. Too many children fall victim to poor choices, lack of physical activity, and lack of confidence. It's a very tough cycle to get out of and most often lasts well into an unhealthy adulthood. It is so important for children to learn how to make good choices now that will help them throughout their lives. To help and inspire kids to do that would really make things come full circle for me.
All I can say is that, while it took me a few years, I went from "the fat kid" to marathoner. If I can do it any kid can!
Thank you for your support not only this year but also for your support during all of those miles its taken to get here.
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