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Posted: August 13, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: JUST RUN® Provides Fitness Solution to Cash Strapped Schools

Program interest highest ever at school year's start

MONTEREY, Calif. - (August 10, 2009) - In an era of budget cutbacks to schools, many programs - including P.E. and sports - are seeing the axe fall. The JUST RUN youth fitness program, now in its fifth year, is providing a popular alternative to cash strapped schools, and early interest is at an all-time high.

JUST RUN is a nationally recognized free, web-based program developed by the Big Sur International Marathon. It provides individual teachers, school volunteers, and youth leaders with the tools necessary to set a successful running and fitness program in motion, and is easy to implement before, during or after the school day. Enrollment for the 2009-10 school year is now underway.

"For schools that have lost P.E. funding, we emphasize that JUST RUN is free," says Susan Love, program administrator for JUST RUN. "It's an answer to the question, 'How do I provide quality and effective physical activity for my students.'"

In addition to promoting exercise and fitness, the multi-faceted program is educational. Classes collectively accumulate mileage in "virtual runs" across the USA and Europe that are tracked on the website. Hundreds of locations through which the children run are web-linked, highlighting geography, history, and points of interest. The JUST DEEDS feature of the program encourages the kids to perform acts of good citizenship, and the nutritional component, JUST TASTE, promotes healthy eating. Recently, the JUST RUN website, www.JUSTRUN.org, was updated to include three new training videos, enhanced nutritional and fitness information, and a simplified registration process.

"We've had phenomenal interest already this summer," said Love who attributes the rising obesity problem combined with school cutbacks and a stronger outreach to educators as the reason. "Most importantly, however, we offer a quality, effective and fun program. Emphasizing on our homepage that JUST RUN is available to schools and youth organizations in any country, state or locale has prompted new inquiries from schools in eight states."

Supported by the Big Sur International Marathon, the program offers free incentives such as mileage tokens, wrist bands and t-shirts to Monterey County-based schools. Local students also have the opportunity to compete in the JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K races offered on the weekends coinciding with the Big Sur International Marathon in April and the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in November. During the past school year, more than 6,300 children participated in JUST RUN.

JUST RUN has received many accolades in its brief existence. In its first year, JUST RUN received a Gold Medal from the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for "positively impacting the health and well being of California children and youth." It has also been designated as a "Model Program" by Running USA, the premier trade organization in the running industry, for offering "the best practices for an affordable, effective youth fitness program that can be duplicated in other parts of the country."

For more information on the JUST RUN program and how to get started, contact Susan Love at (831) 625-6226 or susanwlove@sbcglobal.net.


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