‘Kids helping Kids,’ New Balance running series to help raise money for worthy cause

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WILMINGTON – With the local running community gearing up for another busy spring season, one group is turning its love for an active life style into a fundraising opportunity.

Kids Run the Nation (KRTN) began its 10-week winter training session for youths in the area last month. The popular program-in its fourth year-is now taking the next step in giving back to a worthy cause.

Promoting an active lifestyle and raising money for charity are two driving factors in the new running series. Photos courtesy- Kids Run the Nation.
Promoting an active lifestyle and raising money for charity are two driving factors in the new running series. (Photos courtesy of Kids Run the Nation)

“Kids Run the Nation will be one of the sponsors for a unique race coming up on March 4,” said Billy Block, KRTN Wilmington Program Director. “Strut for Kids will be a competitive one mile run paired with the Eighth Annual Cardinal Strut 5K and 10K. All monies from our race series are going directly to kids with cancer in New Hanover County.”

The point-to-point one mile race is the first of its kind geared specifically towards kids in the area. While the competition is open to all ages—KRTN is promoting the message of “kids helping kids” as a way to raise awareness at an early age and make a difference, according to Block.

Strut for Kids will be held along Kirby Smith Road in Wilmington, right near the intersection of South College Road and 17th Street. This will be the first race in a new series of one-mile runs sponsored by KRTN and New Balance of Wilmington.

“Johnny and Renee Griffin have put in a ton of time and effort into the Cardinal Strut over the years and we thought we could team up to fill Kirby Smith Road near Holly Tree Elementary School for the first of what we hope will be six or seven races in this series,” Block added.

Additional races in the “Kids Helping Kids” series will be announced soon, with talks to join existing competitions such as the Azalea Festival Mile, the run at Cameron Art Museum and part of the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon.

The Cardinal Strut 5K, 10K and One-Mile run will be held on March 4.
The Cardinal Strut 5K, 10K and One-Mile run will be held on March 4.

“We’re also looking to hold two additional independently run races in the series,” Block added. “One being the Park Avenue mile, with the final event as a one mile track race at UNCW. All the money will add up and we’ll award points for participants during the series, with the winners earning grand prizes.”

Age groups for the new series will be six and under, 7-9, 10-12 and 13-and-over.  While local youth participation will highlight the race series, people of all ages are welcome. Proceeds will be going to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation.

While the idea behind KRTN is to promote physical activity from the structure of setting a work out plan to training and running an actual race, “Kids Helping Kids” wants to take specific aim at teaching children in the area the importance of social responsibility.

“Kids are so enthusiastic,” said Block.  “We have 50-plus during our winter session and not only are we hard on them in designing scaled down workouts similar to what some of the adults take on, it means something when you can run for something bigger than you. To give some of our young runners a chance to learn about the importance of giving back is our mission with this series.

At the end of the day, we want them to say yes, I’m running this race, but wow, I’m helping someone my age who might not have the same opportunities that I’m afforded.”

Related: Strong local support guiding Kids Run the Nation program in Wilmington

Following the Strut for Kids fundraising race, KRTN will hold its once-a-session “track day” on March 7 at the UNC-Wilmington Track. Kids from the current winter session will showcase their talents at the conclusion of the 10-week session, competing in distances from 60-400m.

For details on the “Kids Helping Kids” racing series beginning with the Eighth Annual Cardinal Strut for Kids, contact Billy Block at wbb@outlook.com.