Kutztown children and families came together to kick off Kutztown's first ever Healthy Kids Running Series event at Kutztown Park on April 7.

Program coordinators Lori Dougherty and Ericka Parker, Kutztown parents of children involved in the series, said they are excited to have fun and push the kids to do their best. The first day of the event already had multiple sign-ups.

“This is a really great turnout. We have 59 kids registered and are expecting some walk-ons,” said Dougherty.

Parents of the children involved were optimistic about the new program.

“We’re super excited this event came to Kutztown,” said Jackie Bridges, a Kutztown parent. “It’s a great thing for the kids to get out of the house and run around.”

Her daughter, Makayla, age 7, is also excited, “I thinks this will help me get faster.”

Other children involved seemed to have the same attitude.

Abby Whitmire, age 5, said she is “super happy to be doing this with her friend, Samantha.” Both girls said they are looking forward to participating over the next few weeks.

Their friend Gavin, age 8, said that he was saving his energy to prepare for his race, “I think all the kids will run really fast.”

Children, organizers, and volunteers gathered before the races began to stretch and go over rules and regulations. Each age group was given a group leader and then were brought to their stations, where they were given instructions on good sportsmanship and where to run. Every child that registered was able to finish their race.

After all the races were finished, Parker said, “I was just happy to see all the kids try their hardest and finish each race. This program gives children and families the opportunity for new experiences, and for the kids to gain confidence in themselves, make some new friends, and just have fun. We are looking forward to the next few weeks and what they will bring.”

With 60 registered children total and all races finished, Kutztown’s first Healthy Kids Running Series event was a success. Organizers, volunteers, parents and children of the Kutztown community are eager to continue participating in the program.

For the Kutztown community, the series will take place every Sunday, except Easter, for the next five weeks. Race times are at 3:30 p.m. and registration can be done on the Healthy Kids Running Series website, https://healthykidsrunningseries.org/race-locations/kutztown-pa/, or in person the day of the event. Registration includes five races, a race bib, a sponsored race bag, and waters and snacks at the end of each race. Each week’s event will be held at Kutztown Park, where there will be five different races for each age group.

Healthy Kids Running Series was founded in 2009 with the purpose to ensure that children embrace a healthy and active lifestyle through a positive introduction to the world of running. It is now a national, community-based non-profit that provides a five-week running series for kids ages 2-14. Since its startup 10 years ago, the program was able to reach 35 states across the country, and has over 20,000 kids participating.

The program not only offers children’s running activities, but volunteer opportunities, business partnerships, chances to sponsor or donate to the series, ways to join their team, share personal stories, and start a program in other communities.

To get involved or to learn more information, visit the Healthy Kids Running Series website, https://healthykidsrunningseries.org/race-locations/kutztown-pa/, or consider participating in the next event. Remember their mission, Get Up and Go!

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