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Marathon Kids announces Nike partnership, program changes

School children participate in the finishers ceremony for Marathon Kids at the University of Texas  in this file photo by Austin American Statesman photographer Rodolfo Gonzalez.

School children participate in the finishers ceremony for Marathon Kids at the University of Texas in this file photo by Austin American Statesman photographer Rodolfo Gonzalez.

Marathon Kids has announced a two-year, $4-million partnership with sports gear giant Nike.

Nike will provide marketing and communications support for the Austin-grown non-profit, which has encouraged elementary-aged children to run since it was created in 1995. It will also supply incentives, in the form of T-shirts, shoe laces, shoe tags and a bracelet for kids who reach milestones in the program.

Kids will be encouraged to run farther, too. Instead of shepherding participants as they run a single, incremental marathon, a quarter of a mile at a time, during a school year, kids will be encouraged to run up to four marathons. That change is based on mandates that show kids should get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day, said Christine Pollei, executive director of Marathon Kids.

Other changes? The program, now offered in Austin, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, Rio Grande Valley, Baltimore and Los Angeles, plus seven small Texas towns, will expand to 15 additional cities including Chicago, New York City and Miami in the coming year.

More coming …


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