We went to the Kids’ Fitness Festival put on by the Anthem Manchester City Marathon on the first of November. It was an appropriate day for something physical. While we aren’t one of those families who have their children participate in candy buy-backs, it was fun to do something super healthy and active after spending a week acquiring several pounds of candy. (Speaking of which, check out this archive post about alternate uses for your treats!)
This marathon has been going on since 2007. There are also a half marathon and relay options. They generally get about 1500 runners but had a big boost after the New York Marathon was cancelled post-Sandy! 300 volunteers make it happen every year, and they have raised over $100,000 for various charities, with a focus on health and wellness.
There was a lot to do! It didn’t take too long to get there. Manchester is across the NH state line, but just barely; it took us about 45 minutes. Upon arrival, the kids got their own race number. If you knew an adult running, there was a station to make a cheerleading sign. If you didn’t, the option was healthy meal collages.
There were plenty of ways to focus on active kids! The YMCA and the Girl Scouts came and were helping with everything from obstacle course type games to more organized yoga, zumba, and “boot camp” classes. If the kids made it around to all the stations, they won a prize.
There was an adult sports and fitness expo going on in the same building, and they made sure to place the child oriented exhibitors near all the fun stuff. The dance school had a lot of stuff to play with, the local cross-fit gym was teaching some kid-friendly moves, and the grocery store was giving out healthy samples and playing kiddie nutrition games. We wandered around a bit, and my kids were intrigued by the adult booths as well!
The purpose of this write-up isn’t simply to talk up the Manchester City Marathon kids’ event, which we highly recommend but won’t happen again for another year, but the concept in general. Many adult races will have something similar. For some, it will be a one mile kids’ “fun run”, others will be more summer camp style, and some will be like this. This kids’ event is free, and even when there is a fee many races are for charity.
We’re hikers and playground experts, not runners. But occasionally we can handle a 5K or so, especially for a good cause. (And as with hiking, you’d be surprised what your little one can take on. If I was concerned with my own time, it might be another issue, but Bridget and some of her little friends usually have no struggles with 5Ks or less).
Having a fun event like this added on makes it an even bigger draw, since we’re all about getting children outside and moving. What does your family do to stay active when you’re not at a playground? Do you prefer to run, walk, hike, bike, swim, dance, or go to a gym? Or maybe try one of the winter sports that will be starting up before we know it!