The Advocate Kids Marathon gets kids moving
On your marks. Get ready to run.
Youngsters can soon start training and tallying their miles for The Advocate Kids Marathon, which takes place on Jan. 19 as part of the three days of The Louisiana Marathon events Jan. 18-20.
Unlike adults who will run The Advocate Cypress 5K on Jan. 19 or the marathon or half-marathon on Jan. 20, youngsters can start running and accumulating miles in November (on a 9-week program) or in December (on a 4-week program) toward their 26.2-mile distance and finish up their marathon during the Saturday, Jan. 19, event. Or they can just take part in the 1.2-mile run on race day.
“We’re sponsoring the Kids Marathon because we think it’s important to get youngsters moving,” says David Manship, publisher of The Advocate. “Obesity is a problem nationally, and particularly in Louisiana. We hope youngsters will take part in the marathon. It’s going to be a fun event. And maybe by training for it, they will begin exercising regularly and develop a healthier lifestyle.”
Seven-year-old Harley Vaughn and his younger brother, Cody, 6, will be among the veteran runners in the Kids Marathon.
The boys ran the inaugural event in January, along with their parents, Lori and Jack Vaughn, who ran the half-marathon.
“I like to run because it’s fun,” says Harley, with younger brother Cody adding that he “really likes the races.”
The family started running in the summer of 2011.
“Jack and I wanted to get in shape,” says Lori. “But the real reason is we wanted to set a good example for our children.”
Harley got the message: “It’s exercise, and that makes it good for me!”
But it wasn’t like the Vaughns just snapped their fingers and instantly became runners.
Baby steps — Lori says they started with 90 seconds of running followed by 3 minutes of walking — and healthier eating resulted in a complete transformation of the family.
“It was a real lifestyle change for us,” says Lori.
Lori and Jack ran the 13 miles of the half-marathon on race day, and the boys did their marathon over several weeks, finishing up on race day.
“We all trained together as a family,” says Lori. “Before we’d go out for our big run, we’d take the boys on their shorter runs. Then they’d come home and check it off on their chart on the fridge.”
The family developed a “healthy competition,” Lori says. “We all pushed each other to do better.”
Lori, 33, and Jack, 37, each lost more than 30 pounds through running and better eating.
“And that’s been rewarding,” says Lori. “But even better has been all our friends and family who have looked at us and said, ‘If you can get your kids off the video games and off the computer, why can’t I get my kids to do it, too?’ I mean they look at it that if the Vaughns can do it, I can, too. And that’s been great.”
Lori, a pediatric nurse at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center, says she realizes not every family will be able to fully embrace running as has her family.
“But I see far too many kids who with small changes to their diet and activities could have a much better life,” she says.
As for Cody and Harley, they can’t wait to start checking off their countdown runs on the way to their second marathon.