JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program Sets New Records

JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program

11,418 participating students mark a 23% increase over 2012 school year; Slate wiped clean to make way for new school year

JUST RUN, the award-winning youth fitness program of the Big Sur International Marathon, has completed a record year for student and school participation and total miles logged. In the school and after-school based program 11,418 students participated, representing 107 schools throughout the United States. Collectively, the students ran 322,596 miles, with 17 classes awarded for "Running across the USA," a group goal of 3,204 miles or higher.

"We're extremely pleased with the growth of this vital running and fitness program," stated Susan Love, JUST RUN program director. "We've been gaining traction during our eight years of implementation and saw a boost in our satellite program participation throughout the US. We now have dozens of schools in Albany, New York, Miami Lakes, Florida and Lake County, Ohio as part of the program."

Surpassing the 11,000 student mark was a primary goal of the 2012-13 JUST RUN effort. In August 2012, the program received a $50,000 grant from the Coca Cola Foundation for expansion. With the additional funding, JUST RUN organizers were able to focus on outreach and to conduct a study which tracked students' improved aerobic capacity; there was a significant increase from 57% to 75% in the "Healthy Fitness Zone."

Now in the record books, all numbers from this past year were deleted to make way for the new school year which began August 15, 2013. To facilitate increased participation in JUST RUN, the team is reaching out to schools in neighboring counties including Santa Clara and San Mateo. With assistance from the Monterey County Office of Education, additional schools from within JUST RUN's home territory will be targeted, with an increased emphasis on schools in low-income areas. (An information session for locally-based schools is scheduled for 4 p.m., Tuesday, September 17 at the Monterey County Office of Education offices in Salinas, CA.)

The free, web-based program includes additional features beyond running activities. JUST TASTE offers nutritional guidelines and encourages healthy eating, and JUST DEEDS promotes and rewards good citizenship. Instructional videos and leader manuals are available to anyone interested in starting a JUST RUN program at their school.

JUST RUN has received many honors including a Gold Medal from California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Leaders have been honored as Youth Fitness Contributors of the Year by Running USA, a national trade organization for the Running Industry. The program was designated a Model Program and Youth Program of the Year by Running USA, is a recipient of a Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and also received an Excellence in Education Award from the Monterey County School Boards Association.

For additional information about JUST RUN visit www.justrun.org or contact Susan Love at 831-625-6226. A JUST RUN Facebook page has been created at https://www.facebook.com/justrun.org.