The Hershey Company Kicks Off 34th Annual Hershey®’s Track & Field Games Program in Nearly 4,000 Communities Around North America

Olympic Greats Carl Lewis, Rafer Johnson Return as Ambassadors for one of North America’s longest-running youth fitness initiatives, which is free to participants

Program teams up with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe to recycle used athletic shoes

HERSHEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced today that it has officially opened registration for the 2011 Hershey®’s Track & Field Games, the company’s long-running, free youth fitness initiative that takes place in nearly 4,000 communities throughout North America.

“Working with Nike’s innovative Reuse-A-Shoe program, which helps kids get more involved in environmental stewardship, is a wonderful new component that will help us on our mission to create fun fitness opportunities for kids throughout North America.”

Now entering its 34th year, Hershey’s Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind in North America. It is designed to encourage physical fitness and sportsmanship for youth of all skill levels ages 9 to 14. Information on the nearest Hershey’s Track & Field Games local events, including how to register, is available at www.hersheystrackandfield.com.

More than 10 million youth athletes have participated in the Hershey’s Track & Field Games over the program’s previous 33 years – all at no cost of entry. And while several Olympic athletes received their start through the program, the mission of the Games is simply to provide kids with a fun and easy way to become active and engaged in healthy activities.

Olympic legends Carl Lewis, one of only two athletes ever to capture nine gold medals, and Rafer Johnson, winner of the decathlon gold medal at the 1960 Games in Rome, will once again serve as Hershey’s Track & Field Games ambassadors.

This year, Hershey is teaming up with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program, a unique program that collects old, worn-out athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces, as well as select Nike products. Program participants will be invited to bring used athletic shoes to state and provincial meets, which will then be recycled into Nike Grind. A Hershey’s Track & Field Games playground will be awarded to a participating local community as part of the program’s work with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 25 million pairs of athletic shoes into Nike Grind.

“The Hershey Company is more committed than ever to promoting physical activity and sportsmanship among young people,” said Jim George, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Hershey Company, and Hershey's Track & Field Games Chairman of the Board. “Working with Nike’s innovative Reuse-A-Shoe program, which helps kids get more involved in environmental stewardship, is a wonderful new component that will help us on our mission to create fun fitness opportunities for kids throughout North America.”

In 2010, thousands of kids in nearly 4,000 North American communities participated in the Hershey’s Track & Field Games. Once again this year, the top boys and girls who advance through local, district (where applicable), and state/provincial Hershey’s Track & Field Games events will be eligible to qualify for their regional team and receive an all-expense-paid trip to compete in this summer’s 2011 North American Final Meet in Hershey, Pa., courtesy of The Hershey Company.

Hershey also announced the continuation of its Hershey’s FastTrack to Sports Starters Guide, which includes coach’s cards and skill activities, and is available for new local meet coordinators. Hershey’s FastTrack to Sports was developed in conjunction with Carl Lewis and Athletics Canada to instruct children in the basics of track and field, which serve as the fundamentals for all sports and many everyday activities. It was first launched in 2007 as a pilot program for the National Recreation and Park Association and is now available by registering a local meet within your community at www.hersheystrackandfield.com. The site also offers helpful information, materials and lesson plans that teach adults and children basic running, jumping and throwing skills.

For more information on the Hershey’s Track and Field Games and the North American Final meet, visit www.hersheystrackandfield.com.