Yesterday I enjoyed going to the school I adopted many years ago to help my friends at the Cowtown Marathon give away running shoes and running socks to the children. They were excited to get them. It felt like Christmas in February.
The children’s only 5K race sponsored by the Cowtown Marathon is in two weeks. No one else has a special race just for kids. I am delighted that over 5,000 of our area’s school children will run/walk. It has been named one of the top children’s running events in the United States.
The children have been training in their after-school running club since August. They have already participated in the C.A.L. F. Run in October and will also do the Zoo Run in April.
C.A.L.F. (which stands for Children’s Activities for Life and Fitness) is the charity beneficiary of the Cowtown. It also gives over $50,000 in grants to pay for over 5,000 low-income children to enter the race.
In addition, the Cowtown Marathon’s staff and volunteers go to over 100 schools, four or five a day, distributing about 5,000 shoes and socks and fits each child individually. Bravo to them for their hard work!
That’s why I have been one of the primary sponsors of C.A.L.F. and have served on its governing council since it was formed 10 years ago.
I go to the Rufino Mendoza Elementary School on the North Side of Fort Worth to mentor the students, support them financially, and give tips to the runners that I learned as I ran a marathon in all 50 states.
These are just more reasons why Fort Worth is such a great city to live in. I moved here after going to SMU Law School in Dallas and this is my 40th year as a resident – with 38 of them overlooking the the course of the marathon (my first one, another reason Cowtown is special to me) on the Trinity River.
Why the children’s race is so important
Imagine taking on a 3.1 race at their young ages. The kids have to leave their school by 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning to take a bus then hike to the site and wait for hours. When their race starts, they have to run up and down hills, often on a cold, rainy, or very warm morning. But these kids will all finish and learn the value of hard work and perseverance. They are amazing.
And more important, this experience will help them form life-long healthy habits to stay in shape. In addition to physical fitness, they learn about the importance of a nutritious diet.
These are two extremely important topics for me since I have always exercised almost every day and had a super healthy diet back from my days as an Eagle Scout when it was drilled into us that a key to success was “a healthy body and a sound mind.”
I have found that being in top shape makes me better able to handle the demands of a demanding personal injury practice, which includes long days in court or depositions.
More about C.A.L.F.
The group targets all of our school children, from third grade to seniors in high school. It reaches out to over 400 schools in 15 school districts and community centers.
Its primary goal is to teach young people that exercise and nutrition are the ways to stop the vicious cycle of obesity. We know that the United States has a serious obesity problem. Sadly, this includes many of our children.
It is terrible that one out of every three of Texas kids are either overweight or obese. We have to reverse this trend.
These children have more than a two-thirds chance of continuing to be obese at age 35 which will result in lifetime health issues. Today’s children who are obese will triple that rate in the next 20 years and some researchers have predicted that our current generation will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
And we know that our kids are addicted to their screens and don’t get enough exercise.
A new study by researchers called “alarming” by its author at the University of Texas shows that just one out of five teens is physically active for one hour a day, which is the recommended amount. Worse, only one out of twenty meets the recommended benchmarks for exercise, screen time and sleep.
The staff and volunteers teach kids how to stretch, warm-up, run, walk, and cool-down. It gives them pedometers so they can track their progress and training logs with stickers for rewards when they meet their goals.
The Cowtown Marathon and C.A.L.F. are great organizations. If you would like to make a donation or learn more about them, please click here.