Editors' pick

Kids on the Run

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Editorial Review

Is your child always racing around? Try Kids on the Run.
By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, May 11, 2012

If you're constantly chasing your on-the-move toddler or 10-year-old, Saturday's Kids on the Run event at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg is the place to be.

Organized by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club, the "fun run" is designed to introduce little ones to the thrill of the sport and the value of fitness.

"The goal is to get them active and to get them participating in an athletic event," says Janet Newburgh, 70, a former marathoner who started the race years ago when she was raising eight children. "The idea was to get them to participate in something I found pleasurable and rewarding."

The event includes three races: the 100-meter "toddler trot," for age 4 and younger, and the half-mile and one-mile, open to kids 18 and younger. Parents are welcome to run along with their children in all races, and in the toddler event, any child old enough to walk can participate.

Even those tiny tots can see that "putting one foot in front of the other, and exercise, is fun," says race director Kimberly Price.

The event lets kids experience all the workings of a regular race for grown-ups: Children get a number to pin on and a T-shirt when they register. A photographer will snap their picture, and a digital clock captures their time. The 100-meter runners and half-milers receive ribbons at the end of the race, and the one-mile finishers get medals. The post-race snacks are especially kid-friendly: Think apples, oranges, fish-shaped crackers, trail mix, fig cookies, pretzels and water.

The half-mile and mile courses are loops on mostly paved paths through the park, and there will be about a dozen race marshals to make sure no one gets lost.

Ultramarathoner Mical Honigfort of Gaithersburg plans to bring her 3-year-old to Kids on the Run for the second year. She echoes Price's sentiments, noting that she wants her kids to "see the racing scene."

Before the race, volunteers lead warm-up stretches with music and balls in a grassy field to get runners loosened up and excited. The event attracts about 250 children, and all participants receive a potted plant and stickers.

"There is not going to be the fastest child. There is not going to be a slowest child," Price says. "It's all just, 'Get out there.' "