QUINCY, Ill. — Kristen Kretzer said the idea came from “thinking outside the box.”

Kretzer, the sports and special events director at the Quincy Family YMCA, is excited about the Y’s new Youth Running Club.

The club is designed for ages 8-14.

“Running can be kind of an overlooked sport,” Kretzer said. “This is something new and different.”

The goal of the club is to not only help kids improve their running skills, but to do so in what Kretzer calls a “fun atmosphere” with their peers.

“Physical activity (will be) woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and build habits that lead to a lifetime of health,” she said.

The club’s first meeting is Sept. 19. It will get together Mondays and Wednesdays, Club members will participate in the YMCA’s 37th annual Turkey Run on Thanksgiving Day.

Ryan Kappner, a physical education teacher at Baldwin School, will be coordinating the club for the Y. He will be assisted by April Sinnock.

“We want to make running fun,” Sinnock said. “We want the kids to want to run.”

Sinnock said the long-range goal of the club is to be a sort of feeder system for high school cross country and track programs.

“The club will get young runners involved,” she said. “We want them to give (running) a chance.”

Kretzer is hoping for an initial turnout of at least 15 to 20.

“And we’ll build from there,” she said.

Both Kretzer and Sinnock think participation in the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run is a perfect complement to the club’s goals.

“Completing the 5K (will give) the participants a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment, as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals,” Kretzer said. “Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when they realize that even the seemingly impossible is possible.”

Kretzer and Sinnock said participants will have the opportunity to meet and become friends with young runners from other schools.

“This is a starting point,” Kretzer said.

Cost to participate is $60, which includes a team shirt to wear at the Turkey Run. Financial assistance is available.


Source: The Quincy Herald-Whig,


Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The Quincy Herald-Whig.