kIDSMARATHON finale is just the beginning
LITCHFIELD - Olympic Bronze medalist and New York City Marathon winner Rod Dixon came to the realization a long time ago that in running, as with many things in life, winning is finishing and finishing is winning.
That credo certainly held true Saturday morning at Plumb Hill Athletic Fields, which hosted winners from all over Litchfield County for the conclusion off the Rod Dixon Kids Marathon.
A total of 16 schools from Litchfield County took part in the kIDSMARATHON celebration as students completed the final mile on their journey to complete a marathon.
The day had a celebratory feel and featured a Parade of Schools, the National Anthem, sung by the Litchfield HS Chorus and a performance by the Forbes Flyers.
MC Brent Hawkins then announced schools in groups and they took off in waves around the track and then out to a course on the Plumb Hill Fields and then back onto the track for a final lap and race to the finish line.
All of the kids who finished Saturday received a medal that had e kid’s marathon logo on one side and a replica of the medal Dixon received for winning bronze in the 1972 Olympics in Munich on the other side
“This is about celebrating their training,” Dixon said. “It takes them about two to three weeks to understand that if they slow down they can run longer. It's the hare and the tortoise and it's ok to take your time.”
Dixon has been in the area for the last week or so and got to visit with some of the schools while they were training. The program has grown since its inception in Connecticut in 2008 and there were nine celebrations like the one Saturday in different parts of the state in recent weeks.
“It’s growing and the kids love being a part of something big and important,” Dixon said. “They know there are kids in California doing it and 250,000 kids in New Zealand doing it.”
Bill Burgess, who co-founded the kIDSMARATHON CT with Dixon in 2007 has seen the event grow and he’s hoping to continue to build on the momentum. An idea was hatched in Litchfield and it has taken hold and is now starting to spread across the state.
“In 2008 there was the first kid’s marathon and they ran within the Litchfield hills road race,” Burgess said. “Then the Connecticut Association of Schools got wind of it and found it a perfect fit for what they wanted to do for physical activity. They piloted it and that worked well and started rolling it out in 2010.”
The students that took part in the kIDSMARATHON trained with groups at their respective schools and also not only learned how to pace themselves on a run but also on the importance of diet and exercise together. Another key piece to the fitness puzzle for Dixon and Burgess is the “5210” plan of five fruits or veggies a day, two hours or less of screen time, at least one hour of physical activity and no sugary drinks.
Together the kIDSMARATHON, the 5210 plan and more and more involvement from area school will result in healthier kids.
“The idea is that this isn't just an event it's a journey to get these kids in shape,” Burgess said. “We keep learning, keep refining, keep building it as a community event and the program becomes a fun catalyst for change.”