EAST BRUNSWICK – Children ages 2-14 have the opportunity to “run for fun” through the Healthy Kids Running Series.
The initiative began on Sept. 11 and will continue on Sept. 18, Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 at East Brunswick High School.
The Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS), a nationwide initiative that promotes active and healthy lifestyles, has returned for the Fall of 2022.
Scores of enthusiastic participants gather to compete in friendly competition. The event consists of different races that range from a 50-yard dash to a one-mile run.
Coordinator Elizabeth Coccia explained that the event is an open invitation for all families to enjoy. In addition to learning about healthy activities, the initiative also aims to develop character and cultivate stronger communities.
“The goal is to help children get active, feel accomplished, learn the values of competition and sportsmanship, and lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
“Of course, everyone loves cheering for their own kids, but I think it’s important that every parent cheers for every kid. Our runners, last spring, came from 28 towns. So many of them don’t see each other outside of race weeks. But for an hour or so, we are one little running community and that makes my heart sing.”
Coccia said her involvement in the event was inspired by her own children. As an information technology consultant, she shared that it would be easy to develop a sedentary lifestyle. However, she wanted to set an example of healthy living for her children instead.
“I got involved because I wanted something my kids could remember us doing as a family, but it also had a mission I could get behind,” she said. “It is important to lay the groundwork early because as you get older, it becomes harder to fit movement into your day. When my kids see my husband and I making time for exercise and activities, I think it impresses the importance of how beneficial an active lifestyle is.”
Co-Community Coordinator Lauren Keating said she shared a similar motivation. As a proud mother, Keating became invested in HKRS’s mission to help children live healthy.
“I instantly fell in love with the nonprofit’s mission and when the chance to take over and continue the East Brunswick chapter presented itself, Elizabeth and I jumped at the opportunity and have been running it together for the past three years. As a fitness lover, I was drawn to HKRS both as a parent and volunteer for its ability to promote exercise in a positive environment,” she said.
Keating further explained that the exercise is not only fun, but beneficial for the development of motor skills and coordination in younger participants. She stated that running is the core part of many sports and fitness activities. Thus, making it important for children to practice and enjoy.
“I’ve spoken to many parents who revealed just how much their child has looked forward to each race because of how good they feel after. They enjoy coming to a welcoming environment at an event that is family friendly.
“Because it is only five weeks and the event itself is close to an hour from start to finish, I think families enjoy the fact it isn’t a big-time commitment. Yet, it’s a great way to bond and support healthy habits,” Keating said.
For those interesting in racing, pre-registration is required to participate on any selected race day. To register, visit https://runsignup.com/hkrseastbrunswick