What makes kids want to get outside and exercise? Here is what may be a surprising answer when you ask the kids. It is not good weather or even green spaces (although these help). The number one response: "my parents do it." So my spring challenge to you is bring the family to a running event.
Why do we want the child and the highly influential parent out moving? Because of modern diet and lifestyle, kids are increasingly at risk for diseases that can significantly diminish the quality, productivity, and length of their lives.
In West Virginia, close to 40 percent of elementary-school children are overweight or obese.
An obese child has high odds to become an obese adult, up to an 80% if you are an obese teenager.
Metabolic illness such as Type 2 diabetes is expected to afflict over half of West Virginia children born in 2000 due to poor diet and lack of physical activity.
Health-care expenses and productivity losses related to metabolic illness cost Americans more than $100 billion annually.
Inactivity and poor diet are overtaking smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Here is a menu of fun, inexpensive, adventurous, challenging, and scenic local events. West Virginia has some of the best places in the country to get outside.
April 13 The Charge Obstacle Race (www.thechargechallengerace.com) Sam Michaels Park. Obstacle racing comes to the Eastern Panhandle! This first annual event will challenge adults and children of all abilities over not so death deifying obstacles and some mud. First time obstacle racer? No problem. Each heat is designated a skill level, and you choose which is best for you.
April 20: This Race is for the Birds (www.raceforthebirds.org) 7mile, 4 mile, 2 mile, and kids run. NCTC. Shepherdstown. Great family event with something for everyone! NCTC is not normally open to the general public, so this is a wonderful opportunity made possible by our partners at NCTC. Come enjoy the beautiful trails through forests and fields along the Potomac River which are not normally open to the public. Participants will see an active Bald Eagle's nest, beautiful spring wildflowers and the fantastic facility that the US Fish and Wildlife Service calls home.
April 26-27: American Odyssey Relay (www.americanodysseyrelay.com) Gettysburg to DC. Not too late to gather 12 teammates for this epic adventure. Midway is Shepherdstown where midnight pancakes are served at the Bavarian Inn.
April 27: 167th Air Wing C 5K (www.martinsburgairshow.com/c5k.html) Martinsburg. The Sequestor is here but who needs an airshow? This 5K fun run/walk offers a unique opportunity to participate alongside the U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft. See the largest Air Force Airlifter up close as you run along with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. This run provides a mix of on road and off road surfaces. As you finish, you'll have the opportunity to walk through the massive C5 airframe.
May 11: Harpers Ferry Half, 4 Mile, Kids Run (www.harpersferryhalf.org) Harpers Ferry. 4 Mile FREE for kids under 18! I run the course over lunch breaks at my job at Harper's Ferry Family Medicine. This is truly an event of historic proportions. Every time I run this route there is something new for the senses and something challenging. The half marathon is a mix of road and trail and over 1000 feet of elevation gain. The 4 mile encompass the more gentle rolling grass hills of Harpers Ferry National Park School House Ridge. The one mile kids run will be a trail run through the Adventure Park at host River Riders. Some of the major historical sites covered in the event include John Brown's Fort, The Armory of Virginius Island, Bolivar Heights, School House Ridge, and the pre-Civil War towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Live music and beer garden at the finish featuring craft beer.
Need help preparing, it is not too late to join our Couch to 5k spring program. Beginners, walkers, and runners are welcome. The group meets every Tuesday night to go for a short run or walk around Shepherdstown and SU Campus and discuss various topics including proper form, injury prevention, nutrition, health, and training methods. Led by local runner and JFK 50 Mile veteran Rebecca Carper. Rebecca is an amazing mentor and teacher and we are privileged to have her lead this program geared for beginners. Email Rebecca firstname.lastname@example.org or call TR Treads 304-876-1100 for info. Cost is only $50 for full 10 week session and includes shirt and store discount.
And finally for those wishing to start training for a larger goal, registration is open for the 5th Annual Freedom's Run on October 12th (www.freedomsrun.org). We were recently highlighted as a top 25 Half Marathon in the USA by Runner's World Magazine. From the February issue:
"Usually when runners write in about a race, a theme emerges. But this small, much-loved event was described as moving, fun, inspiring, and tough. Much of the half-marathon course loops through Antietam, a Civil War site that was home to the bloodiest battle in U.S. history. Runners pass canons and memorials, and the rolling green hills are scenic, calming-and frequent. But as race director and Air Force Reservist Mark Cucuzzella, M.D., says, "Remember, freedom wasn't easy either." Your efforts are rewarded at the merry finish-line Oktoberfest: a pint glass and live bands."
And coming soonweekly pub runs for the whole family. So get out, stay out, and set a goal for the whole family to do an event together this spring.
For a full list of events and links tworiverstreads.com/events/ .