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Oregon Family Magazine

Less Screen Time... More Running!

02/28/2019 19:44 ● By Sandy Kauten
With video games like Fortnite and League of Legends becoming increasingly popular, it’s no surprise that kids spend nearly seven hours a day looking at a screen. [1] More often than not, playgrounds are filled with children looking at Nintendo Switches or their cell phones. And with technology continuing to boom, this appears to be the new norm. Engaging children in activities like running or playing soccer is extremely important. Across the United States, only 33% of the student population are getting the exercise they need every day.[2] And with a decrease in P.E. time and fewer students participating in after-school sports, the need for new outlets of exercise is important.

Running is an extremely easy sport to be part of as it requires little to no equipment. With a solid pair of running shoes and a positive attitude, running eliminates the need for technology and can be a great way for kids to burn off energy while participating in a sport they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. According to the Eugene Marathon Race Director Richard Maher, “Running is truly a sport for everyone. From young athletes to the oldest runners in the country, moving the body is what matters.”

Running offers significant health benefits like reducing stress, boosting self-confidence and helping prevent diseases like hypertension and osteoporosis.  For kids, running around the track during recess or after school adds a sense of friendship and community. Many schools offer running programs to increase physical activity during the school day.

In particular, César E. Chávez Elementary School in Eugene, OR. offers a running club for fourth and fifth graders during recess several times throughout the week. The goal of this running club? Prepare students for the Eugene Marathon’s spring Kids Duck Dash. The running club utilizes the parking lot, recess area and surrounding buildings to train for the 1K distance that circles Autzen Stadium and finished on the fifty-yard line.

The Eugene Marathon’s Kids Duck Dash, held April 27, 2019, is the perfect reason to get kids running. With a spectacular finish where football players like Marcus Mariota, Justin Herbert and Joey Harrington have made history, kids will feel the magic as they cross the fifty-yard line and receive a medal, goodie bag, pancake breakfast and t-shirt. For kids who need financial assistance, the Kids Duck Dash offers scholarships to many students wanting to run. Additionally, this race is family focused and oriented. Open to kids aged 4-12, parents are welcome to run with their children and finish together.

Races like the Kids Duck Dash help students develop healthy habits. From proper eating to a developed understanding of how to run, kids are better equipped to drop the Nintendo Switch and lace up for the track. Not only will this create a healthy and active lifestyle, but it will continue to help kids develop an activity that can be used for the rest of their life with friends and family. In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.”

For more information or to sign up for the 2019 Eugene Marathon’s Kids Duck Dash, visit eugenemarathon.com/kids.


[1] Rideout, Victoria J., Foehr, Ulla G., and Roberts, Donald F. Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. Rep. Menlo Park: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2010.

[2] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm.