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By Tiffany Bucciarelli, Host of PhillyHealthWatch

The Students Run Philly Style Kick Off event celebrated the launch of our 9-month training season, with over 700 students in attendance. This being our 8th season, we are thrilled with the program’s growth while also maintaining high-quality programming; our goal is to serve a total of 1,000 students this season. During the next 9 months, student teams and their running leaders run 3-4 times per week, gradually increasing mileage leading to the Philadelphia Full and Half Marathon in November. In addition to these runs, Students Run Philly Style provides physical, academic, and leadership-based activities to its student participants. All program activities emphasize our key values: courage, effort and respect.

There are about a dozen races our students participate in during the season, with the first one being our signature fundraising event, gener8tion run. Gener8tion run is a race and family festival highlighting the importance of being and having a mentor at a time when many student participants are realizing that their running leaders are not only their coaches but also mentors. Before the two larger races, the Blue Cross Broad Street Run and Philadelphia Full and Half Marathon, we host pasta parties for all program participants – this is a great way to help students who have pre-race jitters get excited for the race! Students Run Philly Style is the beneficiary of some of these races as well, such as the ODDYSSEY Half Marathon and Radnor Red 5K Steeplechase.

During the summer, when it is especially difficult to run in the heat, the program provides a summer cross-training clinic series. These summer clinics are held twice a week for about five weeks, and each contains a new theme or workout (such as a “Rocky” workout on the stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, yoga, or a Frisbee relay clinic). Some clinics also include health and nutrition themed workshops. Students Run Philly Style also hosts the Go Farther! Leadership Summit, a 3-day overnight camp for students and their running leaders when both take part in planning a curriculum that combines running with daily leadership lessons and team building activities.

About Students Run Philly Style
Students Run Philly Style is the only program in Philadelphia that offers marathon training to help young people succeed in life. The program achieves this by connecting students with adult mentors who help them imagine and accomplish goals beyond their dreams, including the completion of a marathon. The program delivers powerful results for youth, including increased high school graduation rates, improved health, the development of positive relationships with caring adults and a safe choice of an after school activity. For more information, please visit www.studentsrunphilly.org.

This article reflects the opinion of PhillyHealthWatch – not CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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