CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWTI) — After excitedly preparing for its spring season, a local kids running group is celebrating success driven by community.
The Healthy Kids Running Club, in Carthage, New York, concluded in 2021 spring season on the final Sunday of May.
According to Director Kylie Schell, this season was all about forming a community.
“Healthy Kids Running Series turns running, which is typically an individual sport, into a team sport and makes it more of a community,” noted Schell. “That’s one of the things I just love about it. People are so supportive and they just love being out there.”
Schell added how this season, they continued to work to break barriers and misconceptions.
“There’s a common misconception that this is like a super competitive thing and don’t get me wrong, we’ve got some fast runners,” expressed Schell. “But we also love those kids that are out there just to have fun and that understand that we are out there for everybody.”
And breaking barriers continued with the groups “Challenger Division,” which encourages children of all abilities to get out and run.
This year, the group had three “Challenger” participants, which Schell stated, were undoubtedly her favorite.
“The special needs race is near and dear to my heart, they make me so happy and they get the biggest cheers,” stated Schell. “Both as a social worker by profession and as a parent of a child with special needs, it makes my heart happy that they get to do the same activity as typical kids.”
The 2021 spring season was record-breaking for the club, logging over 230 participants from four counties and 14 school districts.
This included students at school districts, and homeschooled children from Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Oneida counties.
To celebrate, the group held its traditional final day, week 5, to honor its runners and families. This included a “parent mile,” which invited families, siblings, grandparents and friends of the runners to complete a mile run.
Additionally, season runners were given awards following races.
And looking to the future Schell shared she hopes the group will grow and bring in new members of the community.
“This is our third year running, our fall season will be our sixth season. While this one will be hard to tap, I’m so excited about the potential of just having some great kids and some great families come out,” concluded Schell.
The Healthy Kids Running Series will kick-off its Fall season this September and invites all children of all abilities and ages to get out and run.