By: Rob Bisceglie, CEO Action for Healthy Kids
In Chicago and New York City, school buses are back in motion, the air is crisp, and the days are getting shorter. These signs all point to one thing: marathon season. This past Sunday, 60 runners joined our Team Healthy Kids to run the Chicago Marathon and raise money for schools to implement health and wellness programming, and on November 1, twenty five of our runners will join the throngs of people running in the New York City Marathon to do the same. For many, a marathon is the epitome of aspirational athleticism and triumph. When completed for a charity, a marathon makes the countless hours of training not only worthwhile, but rewarding.
However, when it comes to health and fitness, we don’t all have to be marathon runners, or even runners. As a partner of the Together Counts™ program, we realize that we simply have to put one foot in front of the other and do something that we enjoy and that keeps us active for at least 30-60 minutes per day. And who knows? That 30-minute walk each day could lead you to run a 5K, 10K or even a full marathon one day.
That’s exactly what happened to one of our Chicago runners. While all our runners come to Team Healthy Kids with inspiring stories, Angela Gillis of Beaumont, Texas came to us with a deeply personal reason for running with our team. Angela had been overweight her whole life until she and her husband, Willie, decided on their one year wedding anniversary in 2011 to lose the weight together – 500 pounds combined, to be exact. Together, they embarked on the journey, one pound at a time. There were no gimmicks or fad diets involved. They simply changed their diets, cut back on how much they ate, got smarter about their food choices, and increased their physical activity. Angela got bored of walking on the treadmill, so she started running. And she hasn’t stopped since. The Chicago Marathon is number 28 for her and the 12th as part of her goal to run a marathon in every state.
So even if you are not running a marathon this year or ever, let Angela’s story, and that of so many like her, inspire you to put one foot in front of the other. While fundraising through extreme physical activity is a noble act, when we are simply physically active and eating smartly, it’s not just about ourselves – we are role models for the kids in our lives, whether at home or at school.
We have all come many miles and have many still to go in the fight to improve the health and wellness of students and our schools nationwide. But just as with running a marathon, it’s not how fast we do it, it’s that we do it at all with our eye on the finish line, one foot in front of the other.
Action for Healthy Kids® is a nationwide grassroots network that supports school-based foods, nutrition education, physical education and physical activity that lead to lifelong healthy habits and academic success. With resources, funding opportunities, expert technical assistance, and our flagship program, Game On, we provide full support to schools, administrators and parents to develop healthy school environments for children. To learn more about the ways our 85,000+ volunteer network is helping to make Every Kid Healthy™, visit us at www.ActionforHealthyKids.org, on Facebook and on Twitter.
For more active, healthy tips check out these other posts from Together Counts.