This small nonprofit running club called GO FAR, with an all-volunteer staff, is growing at a fairly rapid pace. They have expanded out to two Parks and Recreation departments, the YWCA and several new schools. Additionally two private schools including a Jewish school and a Quaker School will be implementing GO FAR. GO FAR currently has programs in NC and SC and this fall will be expanded to VA.

But the really exciting news is its partnership with the United Healthcare NC Marathon. They have asked GO FAR to host the GO FAR 5K Family event this year. The day's events on May 2, 2009 will include a Boston qualifier marathon, ½ marathon and the GO FAR 5K. Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic Champion, will be present on the Thursday and Friday night before the marathon and has agreed to speak to the children about the importance of healthy lifestyles and staying fit.

GO FAR is very excited about being part of this grand event. The children in the local schools are now starting the GO FAR training schedule to be on target for May 2nd. There are 21 Schools that are involved, the YWCA and two local parks and rec departments who will be participating as well. Last fall the GO FAR 5K had over 500 runners and this year's event is expected to well exceed that number.

GO FAR is a comprehensive fitness program for children which promotes physical activity, healthy eating and good character. The goal of the GO FAR program is to empower children to make healthy lifestyle choices that they may integrate and sustain throughout their entire life.

Below are a few testimonials from parents and teachers.

Perhaps the best part of GO FAR is what it provides on an emotional level. These children work hard toward a goal and through a structured, supervised program, they make friends, become more fit and gain self esteem. Cristie (Mom from Colfax elementary)

The children were training to run a 5K and were encouraged to ask a parent to run with them. My wife and I drew straws and I got the short one. I started training with Timmy and both of us proudly finished our first 5K. Timmy felt great about his endeavor and I found the ingredient that was missing to help me gain a healthier lifestyle. I never stopped running since that first GO FAR race and have constantly set higher goals for myself. GO FAR has been a tremendous life changing and positive force in my life and has helped Timmy become more confident and conditioned athlete. It is a program that should be in every school. Mike (Dad of Timmy)

I have a student that is active in sports and is very excited about GO FAR and the road races. She and her entire family ran the race last spring and loved it. (father, mother and 6 y/o brother) Her mother enjoyed the race so much that she has started her own running program and plans to run the fall race. Her mother teaches dance and was physically active already, but she said her daughter's involvement in GO FAR motivated her to catch the running bug. (Nate Reeser, PE educator at Millis Rd Elementary)

Check out GO FAR's website at, http://www.gofarclub.org/upcomingevents.php, for more information.

Below are testimonials from GO FAR kids:

It helps kids stays fit and feel good about themselves and they feel proud and will get them to come to school. (Dylan, 5th grade)

It is good exercise, it builds self-esteem, and its fun! (Josh, 4th grade)

GO FAR is a way to get more kids healthy and make them want to go to school. (Caroline, 5th grade)

It keeps kids in shape. You can keep kids healthy and they can have fun at the same time. (Grace, 4th grade)

That is a great program for fitness and learning other skills, discipline, and healthy snack choices. (Mackenzie, 5th grade)

Below are pictures of previous year's GO FAR 5K.