Mill Race Marathon’s Kids Fun Run reaches the finish line

COLUMBUS, Ind. — “I know these guys are small, but they’re mighty.”

Those were the words of Mill Race Marathon race director Randy Stafford as he prepared to unleash a flood of young runners (along with their parents) across Mill Race Park for the first race of the 2022 Kids Fun Run.

About 1,100 kids pre-registered for the event, which features races for children as young as toddlers and as old as sixth grade. As of 5:30 p.m. Friday, an additional 145 children had signed up and the registration tents were still busy. Kids Fun Run committee member Cheryl Wright said that while not every registered youngster shows up to their race, they were hoping to see a turnout of about 1,000.

More than 700 kids registered for the Kids Fun Run in 2021; 590 finished. All children who cross the finish line receive a medal.

One 4-year-old, Aariz Alom, couldn’t contain his excitement and rushed out before the sound-off for his age group.

When asked if Aariz might run the marathon someday, his father, Polash Alom, said “Too early to say, but yeah, we’ll try to encourage him.”

It was Aariz’ first time at the fun run, and several of his classmates from Bei Bambini also planned to participate.

For local schools, student participation is the name of the game when it comes to the Kids Fun Run. Each elementary school with 10 or more participants is awarded a $250 gift certificate for sports and exercise equipment; preschools receive $75.

Additionally, there are awards for schools with the highest participation rates based on student population. There are three categories of population for elementary schools: large, medium and small. The schools with the highest rate in each category receive $700; schools with the second-highest rates receive $500. The preschool with the highest participation rate receives $200.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.