Saucony Run For Good Foundation Announces Grant Winners

The Saucony Run For Good Foundation, established to help end childhood obesity by providing financial support to nonprofits that support children’s running and fitness programs, today announced its latest round of grant winners
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During the winter, temperatures in North Pole, Alaska can plummet to 40 below zero and with a daily average of only four hours of daylight, its more than a challenge for the kids of the “The Last Frontier” to stay active. Over 4,000 miles away in New York City, disabled children living in low-income area neighborhoods dream about running a marathon, or for some, just completing a lap of a track. There may be a great distance between these two groups of children, but they share a common ground: They make up the most inactive generation in our nation's history.

The Saucony Run For Good Foundation, established to help end childhood obesity by providing financial support to nonprofits that support children's running and fitness programs, today announced its latest round of grant winners. “On behalf of the Foundation's board, I am excited to announce that eight more organizations nationwide have been selected to receive a Run For Good grant,” said Richie Woodworth, President of the Saucony Run For Good Board of Directors and of Saucony, Inc. “While childhood obesity is not going to disappear overnight, these grants allow us to help communities build local programs that will arm our children with the knowledge and tools they need to live healthier lives.”

According to the National Obesity Association, today's youth are considered the most inactive generation in history. Additionally, research from the Centers for Disease Control shows childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last two decades and over nine million American children are now estimated to be obese. With funding for physical education programs also on the decline, Saucony, Inc., a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc. (PSS), and a leading global supplier of performance athletic footwear and apparel, launched the Saucony Run For Good Foundation. Since the Foundation's 2006 launch, 35 organizations nationwide have been recipients of Saucony Run For Good grants totaling over $300,000.

“Everyone agrees kids are in dire need of a more active lifestyle,” said Susan K. Hartman, Associate Publisher of Runner's World magazine and a member of the Saucony Run For Good Board of Directors. “With childhood obesity on the rise, the Saucony Run For Good Foundation is taking action, encouraging kids to lead healthier lifestyles for ultimately happier lives,” she added.

“As a company by and for runners, we want to promote the advantages to living a healthy and active life, and by supporting these organizations we are able to make an impact in children's lives,” said Woodworth.

The recipients of these grants range from start-up programs looking to institute community running clubs, to well attended existing programs that require additional funds to continue to foster growth in their organization. The primary goal for all is to maximize the use of running to promote healthy lifestyles in children.

The following organizations have been selected to receive a Saucony Run For Good grant:

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, North Pole, Alaska

The Fairbanks school district wants to expand their running program into the North Pole area schools. There will be a winter program, using the school hallways for running due to the extreme Alaskan winters; a fall program of cross-country running; and a spring/summer program coordinated by a running coach. The grant will be used to support much needed personnel, program supplies and bussing costs to cross-country practices and meets.

Achilles Track Club, New York, New York

The mission of the track club is to enable people with all disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics. Achilles Kids was established in 1995 as a running program for primary and secondary students in low-income neighborhoods in the New York City area. The grant will be used to expand the kids' program to serve at least 150 schools in the New York City area. A 26.2 mile “virtual marathon” will be conducted during workouts at schools during the week, with the distance of each student's run recorded. At the end of the school year, the children who complete the virtual marathon will receive new running shoes as awards.

Trousdale County Elementary School, Hartsville, Tennessee

This has been the only elementary school in Hartsville/Trousdale County for almost 40 years. Due to its rural nature, fitness options are at a minimum and the limited sidewalks throughout the area make running dangerous. The elementary school will use the funds to implement a running program called the Mileage Club, with students receiving motivational awards as they ultimately reach 26.2 miles. The grant will also be used to install a track for the school, creating a safe place to run.

The Nutrition Council, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Council has partnered with the Flying Pig Marathon, to launch the Flying Piglet Kids Marathon, an incremental marathon program in which kids can walk, run or wheelchair the distance of a marathon over the course of three months. They are also taught healthy eating habits and are awarded nutrition miles for making healthy eating decisions. The final mile of the marathon can be completed in The Flying Pig Kids One Mile Finish, giving kids the opportunity to finish their mileage on the actual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon Finish line. The grant will be used for t-shirts, medals and race support.

Maricopa Council on Youth Sports & Physical Activity, Phoenix, Arizona

The Council, originally founded to respond to childhood obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, will use the grant to expand an existing running program to include 30 minutes of activity per day for local Native American children of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community, taking place at the Boys and Girls Club, a small one-room clubhouse located on the reservation.

Outdoor Industry Foundation, Boulder, Colorado

The Foundation was established by the Outdoor Industry Association in 2003, with the mission to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. The funds will be used to expand their Teens Outsideâ„¢ program, a locally sustainable nationally replicable program, from 21 communities to 100 in 2008 with the development of a curriculum focusing on adventure racing and trail running.

Ellsworth School Eagles Fitness Pledge Runners, Naperville, Illinois

The demographics of students at the Ellsworth Elementary School--low-income and ethnic minority--have made obstacles to physical activity more challenging. During the first week of school the children articipated in a pledge to exercise and eat right, which extended to their families as well. The funding will be used to create an intramural running group for grades K-6, with the goal to participate in a running race. Materials will include logbooks, neighborhood distance maps, awards, race entry fees, and t-shirts.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis, Ogden, Utah

The Boys & Girls Club of Weber-Davis in Ogden plans to establish running clubs in their community for children 6-9 and 10-14. The program will incorporate initial and concluding fitness tests and utilize an “outcomes” model to assess effectiveness. The program will require strength and aerobic exercise at least three times per week. Funding will be used toward salaries, program supplies and equipment.

The Saucony Run For Good grant program is just one part of the Saucony Run For Good Foundation. The Foundation's other initiative includes the Saucony Run For Good Red Lacesâ„¢ Program. Saucony sells signature Red Laces (for $1.00) at running events nationwide with proceeds supporting the Run For Good Foundation.

For grant applications and more information on how the Saucony Run For Good Foundation can help kids in local communities nationwide, or to purchase Saucony Run For Good Red Laces, visit www.sauconyrunforgood.com.

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