Ready, Set, Run! youth 5k program launches; now available worldwide


Following successful implementation at several pilot sites across the country, the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) is launching Ready, Set, Run! to all youth-based programs across the country and on military bases worldwide.
Ready, Set, Run! prepares children ages 8-13 to run a 5k in 12 weeks. While they build endurance and stamina through play-based activities, the children also go through character development curriculum that equips them with the goal-setting mentality that will help them throughout life. Other topics covered include enhancing confidence and self-esteem, respecting authority, dealing with peer pressure and fueling their bodies with proper nutrition. The curriculum is based on two 1½-hour sessions per week.
Since it is a turn-key program complete with curriculum and materials, Ready, Set, Run! is easily added to the offerings of any youth-based program, such as those conducted by park and recreation agencies, Boys & Girls Clubs, independent youth sport organizations, military bases, home school groups, youth running clubs, YMCAs and afterschool programs.
 “Ready, Set, Run! offers a low-cost, fun and educational fitness program that provides children with the opportunity to learn and enjoy running,” said Erin Niemeyer, recreation coordinator at the Redwood City (Calif.) Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department.
Niemeyer chose to participate as a pilot program because she was looking to fill a need parents had for an activity that would increase their children’s overall fitness level and address important topics like confidence and teamwork.
The program is designed to challenge youngsters as they progress through the curriculum. According to Ron Talain, a Ready, Set, Run! coach at Redwood City, “The kids showed definite improvement during the course. I felt gratified to see the kids improve and proud to see those that saw the program all the way through to the final run.”
“It was great being a pilot site because we found this program to be innovative, fun and much needed in our community,” added Niemeyer.
Ready, Set, Run! was a hit with both youngsters and adults at the Franklin Park Borough in Pennsylvania as well.
“This has been a fantastic program,” said Jim Watenpool, parks and recreation director at Franklin Park. “The things I have seen the kids do in supporting and respecting each other was amazing.”
“I like the fact that the kids had to work to obtain their goals – that it wasn’t about competing, but pushing themselves,” added one parent from Franklin Park.
While Franklin Park Borough’s recreation department features a wide selection of programs for children of all ages, they did not have anything similar to Ready, Set, Run!
“This program added another dimension to our programming,” Watenpool said. “It afforded us the opportunity to reach some children that were not interested in participating in any of our other programs.”
“We’ve had incredible responses from entire communities where we tested the program,” said Kacey Lake, director of Ready, Set, Run! “Kids enjoy it and it really gets everyone it touches motivated to make healthy decisions. We can't wait to get more communities involved and change young lives through running.”
Click HERE for more information about starting Ready, Set, Run! in your community and to review sample lessons from the Coordinator and Coach manuals, or email

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