With steady growth over the past nine years, the JUST RUN youth fitness program has just surpassed the 10,000 mark of children registered in the program in a single school year. Last week, Brandon Meding at School 14 Elementary in Troy, NY became the 10,000th student registered into the database of students who log miles run.
“This is the day we’ve been waiting for,” said Susan Love, Program Coordinator of JUST RUN, the youth fitness program of the Big Sur International Marathon. “Our program has been increasing in numbers and popularity every year and we’re so proud that we’ve finally surpassed 10,000 children.” Since 2004 more than 57,000 have taken part.
Unlike many running based programs affiliated with marathons and running races, JUST RUN is a year-round program, encouraging lifelong fitness. In addition to participating in regular running and fitness activities, students also learn about healthy nutrition and good citizenship, or “Just Deeds.” It’s a web-based program, easy to implement by teachers and leaders in any locale.
In 2012, JUST RUN received a large grant from the CocaCola Foundation to help grow the program. In addition to stronger outreach at schools and conferences, JUST RUN is using social media to reach out to prospective teachers and leaders. Teaching tips and ideas, testimonials, contests, and photos from various school programs are just a few of the posts that will be made through the organization’s new Facebook page.
JUST RUN has received many honors throughout the years. The program received a Gold Medal from California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, leaders honored as Youth Fitness Contributors of the Year by Running USA (National Trade organization in the Running Industry), designated a Model Program and Youth Program of the Year by Running USA, recipient of a Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, recipient of the Excellence in Education Award from the Monterey County School Boards Association and endorsed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
"It's wonderful that our JUST RUN program, that started with 8 schools and 400 students in Monterey, is now recognized as one of the top youth fitness programs in the nation," stated the program's developer, Mike Dove.
Though final numbers for the school year won’t be tabulated until early August, 2012-13 numbers show that 265,000 miles have been logged to date. 109 schools from nine states are currently participating in the program.