The Mountain Times

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Jr. Spartan Races introduce kids to thrilled athletic challenges

Spartan Kids Races are about a return to the childlike sense of adventure that we've lost while getting sucked up into "normal life," say Spartan Race organizers, "we want to keep the sense of adventure alive in our kids before they lose it."

That's right, the challenge of Spartan Races are not only limited to adults! Kids ages 4-13 can participate in the Jr. Spartan Race and enjoy the thrill of trail running, a variety of scaled-down obstacles and their own mini festival area filled with games and more age-appropriate challenges.

There are two kids divisions: the "Jr. Spartans" obstacle course race is for kids age 4-8, it is a half mile course; the "Varsity Spartans" obstacle course race is for kids age 9-13, it is a one mile course.

Every kid who participates will receive a t-shirt and finisher's medal at the end of the course. 100% of the Jr. Spartan Adventure proceeds benefit the Kids Fit Foundation. As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit; a mission that resonates with Spartans.

Today, a typical child devotes an average 7.5 hours each day to entertainment media: TV, video games, cell phones, and movies, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found. If you consider that kids are multi-tasking, it's actually closer to 11 hours. That's nearly every minute of every day when kids aren't in school or sleeping. The study also found that about 70 percent of youth say their families have no rules about how much time they can spend with TV, video games or computers.

The study found that kids who are heavy media users tend to get lower grades and have a greater tendency to be overweight.
Physical activity is essential in helping children control weight, build lean muscle, reduce fat, and develop strong bones, muscles and joints. The challenges in a Spartan Kids Race foster a sense of fun and camaraderie instilling within kids a sense of excitement and respect for fitness, while simultaneously building a fitter, stronger, and healthier youth.

At Fair Haven High School principal Brett Blanchard recognizes the nationwide problem of obesity and the health problems that come along with it. "We owe it to kids to teach them about life-long health," he said in an interview prior to the High School Division Spartan race last year. "One way to to do so is by introducing modern athletics and fitness to our schools… The mission of Spartan Race-to rip people off the couch, throw them into a challenge and permanently change their lifestyle-is one that I saw mirroring my mission to improve the worldwide health for our youth. By joining forces with Spartan Race, the global leader of obstacle racing, I was confident that student health could be rapidly improved on a permanent basis."

The "Jr. Spartans" and "Varsity Spartans" youth races will take place between 12-noon and 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21-22. Pre-registration is $25, day of registration is $30. For more info visit www.spartanrace.com.