For Immediate Release: March 2, 2016

CONTACT: Jess Cover jess@runvermont.org, 802.863.8412

RunVermont and MVP Health Care Partnership Brings Running to the Youth of Vermont

In 1988 in Burlington, Vermont a handful of enthusiastic runners got together to talk about launching a marathon in their own home town. Little did they know what they were about to create. In 2016, the Vermont City Marathon will celebrated its 28th running and its success has helped to generate an increased interest in running, and not just among adults.

RunVermont brings the joy of running to over 1500 children in Vermont communities every year through a variety of programs that serve children from the age of 4 on up. “Our Ready. Set. Run! Programs introduce youngsters to the excitement of running in a variety of settings, making it easy for the kids to engage in a supportive environment and we give them the opportunity to experience the thrill of participating in a large event with a crowd cheering them all along the way,” says Aliza Lapierre, RunVermont’s Youth Director.

“Ready. Set. Run! Has three components, all with a different focus,” says Lapierre. “We start with the Mini Milers, a 10 week program that serves children ages 4-14 and gives them the opportunity to learn proper running techniques under the guidance of volunteer coaches and culminates in a final event to celebrate their accomplishments over the course of the spring season.” Other program features include healthy eating, hydration, goal setting, helping hands and establishing a healthy life-long activity pattern, while of course having fun!

The next step in the progression is the MVP Health Care Ready. Set. Run! Festival (formerly known as the Yam Scram) which is one of the highlights of the Vermont City Marathon weekend. On Saturday, 5/28/16 over 800 kids will gather in Waterfront Park to run either a ½, 1 or 2 mile race. “Seeing these kids take part in what is often their first race is awe inspiring and will certainly bring a smile to your face,” comments Peter Delaney, RunVermont’s Executive Director.

And the final step of the MVP Health Care Ready. Set. Run! Program is the Junior Milers. In this program the kids, ages 12-17 form relay teams and compete in the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon. The Junior Milers really builds on the first two components of Ready. Set. Run! by providing several weeks of pre-race coaching to prepare the teams to take part in the marathon itself. “Our vision at MVP Health Care is to create healthier communities and one way we can do that is by teaching our children the value of physical activity. Ready. Set. Run! is a fun-filled way to bring families together while emphasizing a focus on both their current health and their future well-being, said Ellen Sax, Vice President of Community Engagement at MVP Health Care. “We believe these types of programs are what build the fabric of a healthy community and provide opportunities for families to experience the best that Vermont has to offer. And just like the marathon, we couldn’t do it without the help of all of our volunteers and partners. Organizations like MVP Health Care make a positive contribution to all that we do, they offer support in a variety of ways and they really do help us to get young Vermonters ready and set to run,” says Lapierre.

RunVermont is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the promotion of running as a life-long activity through complementary programs that celebrate the athletic spirit, are recognized nationally, and embrace the Vermont community. In addition to its premier Memorial Day Weekend events, RunVermont presents the FirstRun 5k each January First, Half Marathon Unplugged in the spring, Island Vines 10k in the fall; Ready. Set. Run! youth running programs; as well as consulting, timing and race services support for other Vermont running events.