Ready, Set, Run! launched by NAYS to introduce running to children ages 8-13


The National Alliance for Youth Sports, as part of its ongoing efforts to make a positive difference in children’s lives through sports, has launched a first-of-its-kind running program that will be piloted in six cities this spring and made available nationwide later this year.
In response to the growing obesity epidemic, negative body image issues aimed at kids, and the expressed interest of getting kids and families involved in running, Ready, Set, Run! was created as an innovative way for recreation agencies to help children ages 8-13 embrace the sport and the importance of daily exercise – all in a fun, stress-free and action-packed atmosphere. 
The 12-week character-building program is comprised of two 1½-hour sessions each week. The sessions feature a warm-up, a variety of innovative running games and exercises, a cool down and a time for goal-setting. Additionally, issues like enhancing confidence and self-esteem, respecting authority, dealing with peer pressure, the importance of performing community service, being a model student and friend and fueling their bodies through proper nutrition, among other important points, are covered.
It is also set up to train children to participate in a 5k run at the conclusion of the program. One of the many unique aspects of the program’s setup is that along with equipping participants with the physical training required to complete a 5k race it also infuses the goal-setting mentality needed to accomplish their running goals.
“This program is designed to help instill in all children that they are special just the way they are while encouraging them to embrace the joy of running and leading active and healthy lifestyles,” said Kacey Lake, director of Ready, Set, Run! “We want children to believe in themselves and feel what it’s like to set and achieve goals.”
Participants receive a T-shirt and workbook that takes them through the 12-week training process. Recreation agencies are provided with a coordinator manual and coaches utilize a coach manual that guides them through the twice-a-week sessions.
There are specific Ready, Set, Run! programs for boys ages 8-10 and 11-13, as well as for girls ages 8-10 and 11-13.
The six agencies that will be conducting the program this spring are the following:
Franklin Park Borough – Pennsylvania
Redwood City Parks and Recreation – California
Hutchinson Recreation Commission – Kansas
Smyrna Parks and Recreation – Tennessee
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center – California
Tri-This, Inc. – California
For additional information, or to learn how to offer the program in your community, contact Kacey Lake at

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