We Run This City 2013
On May 15, 2011, more than 500 students from 33 CMSD schools completed the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. It was the first year that We Run This City had its first full marathon runner- what a great accomplishment! Post-race assessments were conducted in late May and early June. While the results remain to be analyzed, based on student and school participation, it was another wonderful year.

The We Run This City Youth Marathon Program is a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, and Case Western Reserve University’s Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. Its mission is to encourage healthy habits and exercise in Cleveland’s young people.

While emphasizing fitness, the program provides participants with the opportunity to set and achieve goals and increase their self-confidence as well as their strength and endurance. Student runners in grades 6 through 12 from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District receive fitness assessments and attend trainings to prepare to run in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon alongside serious runners, including those of professional and world class stature.

The 12 week program includes fitness training and conditioning clinics. The clinics ran from March 4 through April 29 and introduced runners to options such as healthy eating tips to complement their preparation for the May 15, 2011 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Students were also provided with a healthy lunch.

In preparation for the 2011 race, 784 students from 35 schools participated in pre-race evaluations in January and February at the Downtown YMCA. A conditioning clinic held on Friday, April 15, hosted leaders from each of the partnering organizations who participated alongside students in fitness sessions that include yoga, cycling, bootcamp, and a cardiovascular equipment round-up. There was also a nutrition presentation.

Evaluations consisted of fitness (strength and endurance) and physical measures (BMI and body composition). In addition, students completed a detailed, audio-supported PDA survey assessing attitudes, intentions and behaviors (i.e., recreational choices, intentions to be active, grades and attendance). The assessments are repeated post-race. Over 700 students also participated in the 2012 marathon, and 2013 may have the largest participation yet. To date 1,100 children are on the roster with 318 signed up for the 10K and 53 for the half marathon.

The We Run This City program is generously supported by the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, the Mt. Sinai Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, The St. Luke’s Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) program, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio.