8 Great Running Programs for Kids ...


8 Great Running Programs for Kids ...
8 Great Running Programs for Kids ...

Running programs for adults are very different from running programs for kids, so if you want to get your little ones running, don’t just add them to your program, find one that’s made just for them! There are so many marvelous running programs for kids, it may be overwhelming to narrow the field to just the one program that will be inspiring, motivating, and most of all, fun! I’ve scoured the internet and running magazines to find just the right running program for Sophie, my little runner-in-training, and I’d love to share what I’ve found. So get your mini-runner fitted for a pair of running shoes, grab a water bottle, and let’s go!

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Kids Run the Nation

Info at: rrca.org
Most running programs for kids are organized at the school level, for ease of access, of course, and Kids Run the Nation is no different. It’s the young-people version of the popular adult running club, the Road Runners Club of America, and since 1986, it’s been focused on helping kids meet the daily and weekly fitness recommendations outlined by the USDA. The goal of Kids Run the Nation is to have a running club or program installed in every grade school across the States… very ambitious!


Kids Run the Nation is a program developed by the Road Runners Club of America, and has been active since 1986. It is designed to help kids meet the USDA’s daily and weekly fitness recommendations. The program is organized at the school level, making it easily accessible to students.

Kids Run the Nation provides students with a variety of opportunities to get involved in running. It offers a range of activities, such as running clubs, running challenges, and running events. The program also provides resources to help students learn about the importance of physical activity and nutrition.

In addition to helping kids stay active and healthy, Kids Run the Nation also promotes the development of important life skills. It teaches students how to set goals, manage time, and work together as a team. The program also encourages kids to develop leadership skills, helping them become more confident in their ability to lead others.

Kids Run the Nation strives to have a running club or program installed in every grade school across the United States. This ambitious goal is being achieved through the help of local running clubs, school districts, and other organizations.


Girls on the Run

Info at: girlsontherun.org
As the name implies, this running program is aimed at turning the next generation of little girls into little runners, starting in 3rd to 8th grade. Their focus is on making girls confident and healthy through physical fitness, which, of course, includes running! What I love about GOTR is that the adults involved seem to benefit from the program, too, finding inspiration from the girls they’re training.


Hershey’s Track and Field Games

Info at: hersheystrackandfield.com
While this may not seem like a very good fit – a sweets company encouraging a healthy lifestyle? – this youth-oriented program is marvelous! They sponsor activities and events across the country, with almost 500 kids participating in their annual finals. Some of the young competitors end up at competing in, and even medaling at, the Olympics!


USATF Junior Olympics

Info at: usatf.org
This program is intense, for serious mini-athletes, but it’s still one of the most popular, attracting more than 70,000 young competitors each year. It’s aimed at slightly older kids who’ve already expressed an interest and some talent in track and field.


The USATF Junior Olympics offers a challenging platform but with tiers to suit various skill levels. Young athletes can embrace events like sprints, hurdles, jumps, and distance running. It provides inspired kids a chance to shine nationally and sets a foundation for athletic discipline and achievement. The competition typically spans a week with regional qualifiers leading up to the national finals, where dreams of standing atop the podium can become a reality. This experience not only fosters a love for the sport but also imbues valuable life skills such as perseverance, goal-setting, and sportsmanship.


Morning Mile

Info at: morningmile.com
This running program may be aimed at kids, but since I run in the morning, I loved it myself! I really like the idea of encouraging physical activity as the perfect way to start the day. As adults, we know that sometimes, if it doesn’t happen first thing in the morning, it may not happen at all… and that a morning run is the best way to get your mind and body ready for a great day!


Morning Mile is a running program specifically designed for kids. It encourages physical activity as a way to start the day. The program is based on the idea that if kids get moving first thing in the morning, it will set them up for a successful day. The program also offers a variety of activities, such as sprints, jogs, and walking, to help kids stay active and reach their fitness goals. Morning Mile also provides tips and advice on nutrition, hydration, and recovery, to ensure that kids stay healthy and safe while participating in the program.

Famous Quotes

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

Let Me Run

Info at: letmerun.org
If you have a little guy who’s just a bundle of energy, and needs a positive outlet for all that get-up-and-go, this is the running program for him! I love the positive energy in this group, encouraging team work, self-improvement, and of course, physical fitness. Their credo is right there on their home page, and it’s brilliant.


Let Me Run is a running program for boys in grades 3-8. It is designed to help boys explore their potential, build self-confidence, and gain a sense of accomplishment. Through the program, boys learn the importance of physical activity, how to set and achieve goals, and how to work together as a team.

Let Me Run is more than just a running program. It emphasizes character development, building relationships, and encouraging life skills that will help boys grow into successful young men. The program includes weekly practices and culminates with a 5K race. The program is led by trained coaches who provide a supportive and encouraging environment.

The program has had great success with over 50,000 boys participating in the program since its inception in 2010. The program has been featured in numerous media outlets and has received numerous awards, including the prestigious President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Community Leadership Award.

Let Me Run is a nationwide program with over 200 chapters in 42 states. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is supported by donations, corporate sponsorships, and grants. The program is open to any boy in grades 3-8, and there are no membership fees.


Fit Girls

Info at: fitgirls.org
Like Girls on the Run, this running program is designed just for girls and young women, specifically 4th and 5th graders. They have a keen focus on fitness paired with reading and community service… what a combination! That’s why their motto is “healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy hearts.”


Make Your Own!

So maybe none of these programs seem just right for your little runner-to-be… now what? How about making your own running program, working with your local school or parks and rec department to put together a running club and training program? Sometimes, if you want something done just right, you have to do it yourself, right?

There are also loads of local kid’s running programs, so do a little poking around and find just the right running program for your little sprinter or half-marathoner! Which of these running programs do you think will be just right for your little guy or gal? Or will you make your own?

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