Funds support the youth fitness programs of the AMAA and the American Running Association (ARA), the parent nonprofit organization. We specifically focus on NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS in May in elementary and middle schools nationwide. ARA in collaboration with AMAA, is committed to increasing the physical activity levels of all boys and girls through running to combat the incidences of overweight and obesity in youth.
Over 30 percent of children ages six to 11 are overweight, 15 percent are obese, and three out of five children ages nine to 13 don't participate in sports or other coached physical activities outside of school. These overweight and unfit children are more likely to remain unhealthy in adulthood and have an increased risk for developing life-threatening medical conditions such as Type II diabetes and heart disease.
A CAMPAIGN IS BORN
In 2007, AMAA and the ARA joined forces to combat the growing epidemic of overweight youth in the United States. In 2007, a grassroots campaign was initiated in local communities and schools to encourage more kids to run. The mile distance was chosen as a good starting point. A training plan and guide for PE teachers, parents, and school administrators was developed to make it less cumbersome and difficult to implement. AMAA and ARA tied everything into a culminating mile event, the NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS. Children as young as kindergartners and up through middle school are the target age groups. The AMAA YOUTH FUND provides the staffing and materials for teachers and schools. With each mile, AMAA and ARA are striving to "Get Kids Fit, One Step at a Time." To learn more about the program, go to www.runamile.org.
The ARA and AMAA also host an annual cross-country championship for middle schoolers through high school students from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. This event, held in November, is entering its eighth year and has grown to over 500 participants.
Support for the ARA/AMAA Youth Fitness Fund will help expand the organizations' efforts to increase the number of grass-roots youth running events nationwide.