History and Mission
The mission of We Run This City Youth Marathon Program is to encourage healthy habits and exercise in Cleveland’s
young people. With our running programs, we strive to teach
young people to set and achieve goals, increasing their selfconfidence
as well as their fitness and endurance. Crossing
the finish line is just the beginning!
We Run This City Youth Marathon Program was launched in 2006 with 81, 6th through 8th grade runners from seven Cleveland Metropolitan School District schools. The program nearlydoubled in 2007 to 192 participants, including participation of one high school. Other changes to the program in 2007 included the addition of a team of 10K runners.
In 2008 WRTC expanded training options to add the half marathon and a change in venue for race day events. Previously the
students were housed at the downtown YMCA before the race began, where they picked up their t-shirts, signed
poster-sized thank you cards, posed for group pictures and listened to motivational speakers. Due to the increase
in numbers, the staging area was moved to CSU Woodling Gymnasium (a move made possible by a generous donation
from the Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Department at CSU).
The big news in 2009 was the decision by CNN to cover the WRTC program as a Fit Nation feature. The program was
treated to coverage by a CNN crew both on race day and the night before. CNN in partnership with the Y-USA, replicated
parts of the program in other YMCA markets: San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago and Seattle.
During the 2010-11 program year there were 871 students recruited and 550 students from 35 schools that crossed
the finish line of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 15, 2011. Of the 550 that crossed the finish line 25 completed
the half marathon, 106 ran the 10k, 414 completed the 1.2 mile run and for the first time we had one student complete
the full marathon.
For more information about the program, call Tara Taylor at (216)263-6298 or email her at email@example.com.
Just The Facts
- At the start of the 2008 program, more than a third of students said their neighborhoods weren't safe for outdoor physical activity.
- A quarter of students who trained to run the 10K in 2008 started the program as overweight—a statistic well above the national average for both boys and girls.
- Students identified the fact that they “like to run” as the number one reason that they participated in the program in 2008.
- In 2009 runners indicated that the best parts of participating in the Marathon Program were “accomplishing goals”, “being a part of a team,” and “getting in shape”, as opposed to receiving incentives such as shoes. These results suggest that the program achieved its goal of promoting self confidence and a sense of empowerment.
- In 2009 runners’ perceptions of their own body image before and after the program was important in tracking changes in self-esteem. Post-test results indicate that over 90% of participants reported that they either felt better (72%) or the same (21%) about their bodies after completing the program.
- Participants reported a significant increase in support for healthy behaviors from both their peers and their family members.
2009 Overview of We Run This City