Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
WE run this CITY !
Submitted by lmcshane on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 09:43.
05/17/2009 - 07:00
05/17/2009 - 17:00
From our friend Barb Clint:
For the past four years, the YMCA of Greater Cleveland has been partnering with CMSD and the Cleveland Division of Health to offer a “youth marathon” component of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Launched modestly in 2006 with just 7 schools and 80 student runners, the kids accrued the equivalent of 25 training miles prior to race day in order to be afforded the privilege of running their last 1.2 miles of their “marathon” with other Rite Aid runners.
By year two, we were up to 13 schools and 192 runners; last year, we reached 26 schools and 283 runners. I’m delighted to say that this year we have 40 schools involved and, as of this moment, about 650 kids training for race day. The race day options have expanded as well. In year two, at the suggestion of one of our participating Physical Education teachers (Ms. Dawn Imler from Buckeye Woodland), a 10K component was added. In fact, Ms. Imler did not give her kids an option, but rather signed up her entire 6th grade class. Noteably and to her credit, they ALL finished. Last year, two of Ms. Imler’s 7th graders trained for and ran the ½ marathon.
This year, we have some 150 students training for the 10K and an additional half dozen training for the half marathon. Clearly, the kids are getting into running! While the race itself is exciting and important both in terms of its physical activity, its goal-setting opportunities and the chance for these kids to be stars for a day, the 12-week training period before the race is equally important. During this time frame and in partnership with Case Western’s Center for Public Health Promotion Research, we conduct pre-conditioning physical evaluations of our student runners (height, weight, body fat, blood pressure, flexibity, strength) and then repeat these measures post-race. In addition, we conduct a Case-designed, 100+ question survey that’s loaded on a half-held computer with the questions being read to them through earphones. While the survey and physical testing has yielded lots of interesting and important data, what stands out for me personally is the figure pertaining to incidence of both hypertension and pre-hypertension among this population. An incredible 42% of these primarily 6th and 7th graders were either hypertensive or pre-hypertensive during their initial evaluation. Post race, we had reduced these numbers to 21%. While this was incredible progress over a 12-week time frame, clearly a 20%+ rate of hypertension and pre-hypertension among such young children is not our end goal and the results clearly signal what we already know: we need to be offering more and more children opportunities to participate in safe, structured activities while simultaneously redesigning our city to support every day active living.
If all of this were not already a sufficiently compelling story to drag you downtown early on a Sunday morning, I have one MORE inducement. We have just learned that We Run This City will have national, race day (and pre-race day) coverage…further details to be released. So, if the above, heart strings stuff was insufficient to get you to volunteer your time on Sunday, May 17th, then maybe the chance to mug in front of a tv camera on race day will clinch the deal! We are really looking to make this the very best race day ever.
pbrackett at city.cleveland.oh.us