Days before some of the world’s most elite runners take on the 7.46-mile course for the 99th annual ING Bay to Breakers, nearly 2,000 San Francisco Unified School District middle-schoolers will run 2.49 miles in Golden Gate Park.
ING’s Run for Something Better program is a school-based, free training program aimed at reducing childhood obesity by introducing kids to running and the benefits of physical activity.
It began four years ago, according to Josh Muxen, organizer of the program. Students train for 13 weeks before the 4K race to get ready and in shape.
Muxen said the program promotes physical activity to fight childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
“The idea is running is an all-inclusive sport,” he said. “It’s free, it’s a lifelong activity and it provides health benefits.”
Muxen began running in high school and continued when he attended college in Idaho and then when he moved to the Bay Area.
“It’s a part of who I am at this point,” he said.
Race day might be the culmination of 13 weeks of sweat and training, but it’s also a social event for the kids to meet other teens doing the same thing.
“The kids are talking about it all year,” Muxen said “It’s fantastic to see 2,000 kids dressed up in official orange race T-shirts and orange laces. It’s a pretty cool sight to see.”
An estimated 1,800 seventh-grade students from 10 San Francisco middle schools are scheduled to participate in this year’s race, according to Muxen.
Last year, 2,000 students from 14 schools participated. During the course of 13 weeks, the kids ran approximately 157 miles — each achieving better health and fitness.
Since its inception, Muxen said, more than 6,000 students have run a combined 835,000 miles.
The race begins at 10 a.m. today at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Muxen said this run is designed to culminate the week of Bay to Breakers, which takes place Sunday, but it’s held separately to give the kids ownership of the event.
“We want it to bring excitement to race week and all that’s wrapped up in it,” he said. “But also give the kids their own special day.”
Source: ING Run for Something Better
Details of the 99th annual footrace through The City:
Start time: 8 a.m.
Where: Starts at Beale and Howard streets, finishes at Great Highway
Length: 12 kilometers (7.46 miles)
How to register: www.ingbaytobreakers.com
Online registration ends: Noon today
Source: ING Bay to Breakers