Youth program aims to get kids off and running

The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon is partnering with Newton Running and Wilcox Health to encourage keiki to make healthy lifestyle choices through running with a new youth program, hosted by Kauai Marathon champion Tyler McCandless.

First, McCandless will pair high school student cross country/track runners with 25 elementary students in a mentorship program. The running “buddies” will meet regularly to go for runs and share in the movement toward greater health and wellness. The goal is to give high school athletes the opportunity to be positive mentors while giving younger students a chance to be inspired by positive role models. Newton Running has offered to donate a pair of shoes for every child in the running program.

The second component to the youth program partners the marathon with the nonprofit, “Healthy Learning Paths.” HLP has a mission to empower children by teaching wellness strategies for success in health, learning, and life. In the days prior to this year’s Kauai Marathon, this science-based curriculum will be taught in the classrooms at selected elementary schools.

“Our goals are to help students discover the power of healthy bodies, physical health and healthy minds, mental and spiritual health,” said Dr. Chris Marchioni, a family physician and founder of Healthy Learning Paths. “With healthy bodies and minds, students can reach their full potential.”

McCandless and his love for Kauai drives the third element to the youth program. He has given himself the challenge to run The Kauai Marathon Half Marathon in less than one hour, five minutes, which is the Olympic qualifying time. McCandless’ goal is to raise $13,100 or $1,000 for every mile in the half marathon with proceeds benefitting the Youth Program. He has set up a website, https://charitybets.com/users/593-tyler-mccandless for donations.

Kids will get their chance to run next weekend.

The second Kauai Marathon Keiki Run sponsored by Wilcox Health will be Saturday at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. Registration is $15 prior to Monday and $20 after. Each participant is guaranteed a medal and T-shirt if they pre register before Monday. Late registration begins at 8 a.m. on race day and the races start at 9 a.m. Saturday. There is a toddler trot 100-yard run for 2-4 year olds, a quarter-mile run for 5-7 year olds and a half-mile run for 8-12 year olds. The elementary school that brings in the most runners for the Keiki Run receives a $500 donation.

Info: kauaimarathon.com

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