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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monumental Kids Movement promotes healthy habits among IPS students

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (IMM) has become the state's largest and fastest marathon, and now, it has added an initiative to improve the health and well-being of youth in the Indianapolis community.

The IMM, whose annual race is presented by Franciscan St. Francis Health, recently launched the Monumental Kids Movement, a nine-week running program to help area youth begin to focus on an active and healthy lifestyle.

The biweekly youth running program will culminate with participants running in the IMM 5K on Saturday, Nov. 2. (Race time for the 5K is 8:20 a.m., starting at Washington and Senate at the Indiana State Capitol) Students who participate in at least 75 percent of the sessions held at select Indianapolis Public Schools will receive free entry into the race. The program's two main goals are educating the participants on exercise, proper diet and healthy living; and engaging young people in intentional and on-going giving and serving for the good of the community.

“As a not-for-profit race, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon has always been about more than just a fun race for the running community,” said Blake Boldon, executive director. “We want to make an impact on our community, and we’re very excited to be working directly with Indianapolis youth to help them understand the value of healthy choices and the role that distance running can play in a healthy life.”

The IMM isn't alone in its efforts to launch the Monumental Kids Movement. Official collaborative partners include Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Medals4Mettle and the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana.

Currently, 17 Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) have pledged to participate in the program, including, Frederick Douglass School #19, James A. Garfield School #31, Eleanor Skillen School #34, William McKinley School #39, James Whitcomb Riley School #43, Riverside School #44, Louis B. Russell Jr. School #48, Clarence Farrington School #61, Raymond F. Brandes School #65, Mary E. Nicholson School #70, Carle Wilde School #79, Ernie Pyle School #90, George S. Buck School #94, Jonathon Jennings School #109. Paul I. Miller School #114, Center for Inquiry #302, and Francis W. Parker Montessori School #356. Additionally the Challenge Foundation Academy is participating.

Each program is led by a faculty member from the participating elementary school, and receives staffing assistance from fellow faculty members and students from IUPUI who are enrolled in a first-year seminar class through the Indiana University School of Physical Education and Tourism Management.

Throughout the program, enrolled youth will achieve measurable outcomes in the areas of health, education and philanthropy. One of the main goals is completion of the IMM 5K. The 2013 goal is 1,000 "graduates" who complete the program and the 5K race, while improving their physical fitness, learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle, and giving back to their community.

The IMM has donated over $400,000 in the past five years to support public education.

Through partnerships with Medals4Mettle and the Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana, participants will be encouraged to donate their finishers’ medals as awards to patients in Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

In addition to the support provided by IMM and its partner organizations, the Monumental Kids Movement has also received substantial support from community leaders and politicians, who are pleased with the effort to improve the health and welfare of Indianapolis youth.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard led the way with his support.

"Communities that provide the means for active lifestyles have healthier residents,” said Ballard. “I am happy to see the combined focus on exercise, diet and community-oriented activities. The Monumental Kids Movement is a great way to involve Indianapolis youth in positive activities that get them out to enjoy our beautiful city."

In addition to the Monumental Kids Movement, the IMM supports and funds other charities. The IPS Education Foundation, College Summit and the Simon Youth Foundation all are beneficiaries of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

“This partnership allows Simon Youth Foundation the opportunity to continue to make great strides in helping at-risk students achieve their dreams of graduating from high school,” said Michael Durnil, President and CEO, Simon Youth Foundation. “With the phenomenal support we’ve received from the running community, we are able to ignite hope in students and spark their passion for education.”

To view a video on some of IMM’s community partners, visit