May 25, 2023 – East Hartford, CT – Hartford Marathon Foundation (HMF) received a $20,000 grant from Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation to support HMF FitKids in School programs in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. The five-week training program is designed to encourage healthy lifestyles and introduce students in grades 4-8 to the benefits of incorporating running and fitness in their everyday activities. Training materials are provided to teachers or coaches to be used before, during or after school with a culminating Medal Day recognition event produced by HMF. Grant funds will cover transportation costs for students to participate in the event, where they’ll run the final mile of their goal marathon or half marathon distance before being celebrated with a finisher medal and healthy snacks.

The HMF FitKids in School program has been reaching students throughout the state for more than a decade. At no cost to schools, HMF provides training materials, t-shirts for students and coaches participating in Medal Day, finisher medals, snacks and activities to engage students.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation for helping us further support local schools and students through our FitKids in School program,” said Josh Miller, president of the Hartford Marathon Foundation. “Together with their coaches, we encourage students to accomplish fitness goals and this grant helps us bring them together to celebrate those efforts and empower them to keep being active.”

Dicks Sporting Goods has donated $80 million to youth sports since 2014, with a goal to break down barriers for kids to have more access to sports.

Through the tremendous generosity of Dr. Susan Beris, a Southbury pediatrician, HMF expanded its platform of youth running programs in 2022 under the umbrella of the Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program.  In addition to the HMF FitKids in School program, resources and opportunities in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts include:

HMF High School Program (grades 9-12): initiative to support high school running programs and coaches in underserved communities with training resources for coaches, race entries for students and funding to support the purchase of shoes, transportation to events etc. As part of this, up to three high school teams will be able to participate in the final section of the August 2023 RiMaConn Relay, presented by Webster Bank.

Junior Team HMF (grades 6-8): expanded opportunities for students nominated by FitKids program coaches and then accepted to the team based on responses in personal essays. Team members are provided a custom race shirt, free 5K race, volunteer engagement and mentoring, support and recognition opportunities.

HMF FitKids races (2-11 year old): in conjunction with select family-friendly HMF Events, FitKids races are short distance fun runs that allow children the opportunity to participate in their own race, complete with finish line and finisher medal.

Members of the HMF community will be able to share their passion and help build the love of lifelong running in youth.  The long-term success of the programs depend on engaging volunteers and on the continued generosity of participants and partners to make donations supporting program sustainability.

Learn more about HMF FitKids in School, the HMF Susie Beris, MD Youth Running Program and upcoming events for kids and adults at Follow the conversations on Facebook at HMF Events, Twitter at @RunHMF or Instagram at HMF_Events.