Healthy Kids Running Series Under Way in Jacksonville

By Benjamin Cox on April 12, 2024 at 8:30am

Weekly races aimed at keeping children active started this past weekend in Jacksonville’s Community Park.

The Healthy Kids Running series began on Sunday in Community Park with over 60 racers. Amy Oxley, the local coordinator of the national series, says that the series is a positive introduction to the world of running and fitness to young children. She says she got involved when her son ran in the races in year’s past and it had a positive impact on him socially and for his physical fitness. She says that young children run for fun, while the older racers compete for a chance at a trophy in their age division: “We have 5 divisions – Pre-K which is your 2-3 year olds, and they run the 50-yard dash. The Pre-K 4-5 year olds run the 75-yard dash. Kindergarten through First Grade runs the quarter mile. Second and third graders run the half mile. Fourth through Eighth Grade runs a mile. The timed events are the quarter, half, and full mile. I chose to do those as the competitive divisions. The 2-5 year olds are all just for fun. Everyone will finish with a medal. The older, competitive divisions have a chance to win a trophy.”

Oxley says that volunteers are always wanted to either be chase rabbits for the younger runners to keep them on course, timers, or helpers to keep the races moving along. The races are held every Sunday until May 5th.

Oxley says that the May 5th race is an awards day with some special events planned: “The Lazy Laker Food Truck will be coming out, and Brain Freeze, a sno-cone bus that’s kind of new to the area also coming out. Then, we will also do something fun with the parents. I haven’t decided what race we will do with them yet, but it will give me some time to tabulate the last race points for the week.”

Cost to sign up to race is $50 per child for the remaining races. If you just want to try out one race, the cost is $20 per child on the race day.

The Healthy Kids Running Series was founded in 2009 as a national-based non-profit with races in all 50 states. Jacksonville is joined by Havana, Rochester, Springfield, Taylorville, and Williamsville in Central Illinois.

For more information about the Jacksonville race series, contact Amy Oxley by calling 573-535-1580.