INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Thousands of runners of all ages are preparing for the Monumental Marathon on Saturday. Along for the fun are about 1,000 IPS students. It's a partnership with Beyond Monumental to get kids up and moving. IPS is working to have fun while tackling childhood obesity rates at the same time.
Kim Langhorne runs on motivating her students. When asked about the importance of exercising, Langhorne's elementary school students had a lot to say.
"Because you can be stronger," Juan Hilarto said.
"It makes me [have] more energy," David Juarez said.
"They can get stronger and skinnier," said Jonathon Leon Dela Pena.
During the day, she's a teacher at Meredith Nicholson School #96. After hours, Langhorne is the running club sponsor. Langhorne is in charge of teaching these kids that running is good for not only your physical health, but your mental health.
"The majority of our kids that go to this school live in an area that it is not really safe for them to go out and play and do things, after school clubs are huge," said Langhorne.
It's called the Monumental Kids Movement Program.
"For a 5-year-old to complete a 5K is huge," added Langhorne.
It's a seven to nine week running program that helps youth focus on the benefits of exercise, good eating and healthy living.
"Some of the 6th graders will come up to me after the second week and say, 'Mrs. Langhorne, Mrs. Langhorne my pants are looser, I'm losing weight! And I feel better, I'm sleeping better!" said Langhorne.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, about 30 percent of Indiana kids suffer from some sort of obesity. That's why Meredith Nicholson Elementary School is working with these kids to teach healthy habits at a young age.
The CDC reports nearly one in five children in the United States has obesity.
"Some of our kids aren't very active. Getting out and showing them they can run,” said Langhorne added. “All you need is a pair of shoes and some place to do it."
With their new shoes tied and orange team shirts on, the IPS students are ready to take on the challenge, running straight to the monumental finish line.
"They see the police officers, the people, the support just cheering them on they just love it,” said Langhorne. “They absolutely love it."
If you notice the IPS students running a little faster this weekend, it's because this year students are wearing new running shoes thanks to the new 'buy one, give one' program. Beyond Monumental has donated over $1.1 million to local public education.
Good luck to all of the IPS runners!
To learn more about the Monumental Kids Movement Program click here.