On Your Health

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Oklahoma City Memorial Kids Marathon Teaches Important Lessons About Oklahoma's History

If you live in Oklahoma, you are undoubtedly aware of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Each year, more than 25,000 runners come together to run and celebrate life while honoring the memories of those who were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Runner's World magazine calls it one of 12 "must-run" marathons in the world.

But did you know there is another smaller (although no less important) race happening that same day? Every year, 3,500 kids participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids Marathon.

Sure, this race is a fun activity for kids, and it's a great way to teach kids about a healthy lifestyle by encouraging them to stay physically active. But it's more than just a fun run. By committing to run the race, kids can build character by learning to set a goal and working hard to see it through.

But most importantly, this race is unlike any other because it teaches kids an important part of Oklahoma's history in a real-world way. Parents and teachers, this is a great time to talk to your children about why they are running. The kids run in memory of the 168 people who were killed in the bombing, including 19 children, and honor those whose lives were forever changed because of a tragic event on April 19, 1995. We hope you will encourage your child to run with passion and challenge them to be the best they can be.

When they sign up as part of a school team, they receive lesson plans to work through before the race. They are encouraged to think about concepts like the impact of violence, how the good choices a person makes can have a positive effect on others, and treating all people with respect.

The kids who participate play a special role in the Memorial Marathon. As Kelly Burleson, race director of the Kids Marathon says, "They are the Memorial's stewards of the future. No one is too young or too small to earn their laces."

When is the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids Marathon? Sunday, April 24, at 8:15 am.

How does it work? The kids log 25 miles that they have run or walked with this running log, starting after they register and finishing before the day of the marathon. The last 1.2 miles will be run at the Memorial Marathon. When the kids have finished the event, they will have run the entire distance of an adult marathon. What an accomplishment!

How much does it cost? $15 per child. The money goes to support the Oklahoma City National Memorial in its efforts to teach respect, responsibility and resilience. If parents want to run/walk with their child, they must register with a fee of $25.

Where to register: Online registration is open. Now is a great time to register your child or school group, and start logging those miles. The earlier you get involved, the more time you have to enjoy this event with your children. Please note: April 1 is the last day to register your child as part of a school team. Once your child has registered for the marathon, check out this video full of training tips for first-time runners from INTEGRIS physician Dr. Loahn Gallegos.