At the Kids Marathon the medals are just the beginning

Ask proud mom (and long-time runner) Melanie Coulson what she loves about her son Euan’s participation in the Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon and the first thing she says is the excitement:

“I looove seeing how excited the kids get on race day – and how proud they are of their medals! Last year my husband took Euan to Elgin Street Diner for breakfast after his race (while I ran the half marathon) and Euan showed off his medal in the restaurant to everyone there.”

One of the biggest highlights of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, which takes place this year on May 23rd and 24th, is the Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon, an opportunity for kids between the ages of 7 and 12 (grades 3 to 8) to run in front of the thousands of cheering spectators who turn out for Canada’s largest weekend running event. The event also raises funds for the CHEO, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Of course, the young runners don’t actually complete a full 42-kilometre marathon on race day. Instead, participants are encouraged to do any number of physical activities – from downhill skiing to hockey to basketball – in the months leading up to the event, with each half hour of exercise counted as one kilometre. With 41 pre-race day “kilometres” complete, participants then run the final kilometre of their marathon in a mad dash to the finish line (the same finish line that will be crossed by the winners of the Ottawa Marathon the same morning!).

It’s an experience that generates not only excitement, but also longer term benefits.

Says Coulson:

“We love the confidence that running and sport has given our son. Running has brought him a new group of friends, a respect for healthy activity and love of being outdoors. It has taught him perseverance in working towards a larger goal.”

Speaking of goals, Euan already has his sights set on a new goal for this year’s race: “I want to beat my time from last year,” says the 9-year-old who is preparing for this year’s race with his good friend Findlay and a group of about 20 other kids at his school.

Asked what he likes about running, Euan says: “I like running with my friends and my mom sometimes on weekends.” An answer that is sure to make his mom smile.

Friends, family, fitness and the confidence and determination that comes from running. Are we forgetting anything? Oh yeah, and a great medal to remind the young runners of their accomplishment. Now that’s an event!

If you are a parent or teacher and have children or students would be interested in participating in the Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon for CHEO, you can find out more about how to register and participate here.