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home > news > usa: west > just run youth fitness program receives national and local honors

JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program Receives National and Local Honors
Big Sur Marathon's youth program recognized by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Monterey County School Boards Association, and Monterey Peninsula Foundation; School year numbers reach record high at 8,600

JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program Receives National and Local Honors

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Running USA

Posted Thursday, 10 May, 2012

From Ryan Lamppa, Running USA

CARMEL, Calif. - (May 9, 2012) - JUST RUN® is on a roll.

The award-winning youth fitness program under the auspices of the Big Sur International Marathon, has just added two major honors, received a generous local grant and surpassed 8,600 school children enrolled in this year's program.

Nationally, JUST RUN has been selected as a 2012 recipient of the Community Leadership Award by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN). Of the 47 honorees, JUST RUN is one of only three recipients in California and one of just six programs nationally. The PSFSN promotes healthy lifestyles through fitness, sports and nutrition programs and initiatives that educate, engage and empower all Americans.

Locally, JUST RUN was honored by the Monterey County School Boards Association as the 2012 recipient of the 'Excellence in Education' award for exemplifying the very best of teaching and learning. Program administrator Susan Love, program founder Mike Dove and others from the JUST RUN team accepted the award at the association's annual dinner in late April.

"We're honored to be recognized for these two very prestigious awards," said Love. "They will certainly encourage us to continue in our efforts to positively impact the lives of as many children as possible."

This year, more than 8,600 children from 82 schools in 12 states are participating in JUST RUN. The free, website-based, fitness program combines fun running activities along with a focus on good citizenship, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. It is easy to implement and track children's progress online as they "Run Across the USA (or Europe)" accumulating miles and incentives along the way.

The program also encourages schools and districts to offer goal races for motivation. In Monterey County, the home turf of JUST RUN, two such races are held annually. The most recent JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K, held in conjunction with the Big Sur International Marathon in late April, drew more than 3,700 school aged children along with their parents and teachers to run along the scenic Monterey Bay coastline. This year, California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, was an honored guest at the JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K race.

"Fabulous, fantastic, awesome, magnificent," beamed Torlakson following the 3K. "This program, JUST RUN, is a program that we want all schools in California to embrace because it works. We're trying to have California kids be healthier because they'll learn better."

A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, JUST RUN relies on grant funding and other donations. In April, the program received a generous grant of $15,000 from Monterey Peninsula Foundation as a recognition of the importance of youth fitness to the local community. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation awards grants to a variety of non-profit organizations from the proceeds of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Grant funding for JUST RUN will be for program materials and incentive awards.

The JUST RUN program is now in its sixth full year. During the first year of its existence, JUST RUN received a Gold Medal from the (California) Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and its leaders, Mike Dove and Susan Love, were named as Youth Fitness Contributors of the Year by Running USA, the industry's trade organization.

The program is also endorsed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and is recognized as a significant youth fitness program in the national "Let's Move" campaign initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama.

For more information on JUST RUN, visit or contact Susan Love,



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