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Healthy Kids Running Series Comes To Twin Valley

Local youngsters now have another opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise thanks to the efforts of two local Girl Scouts who have brought the Healthy Kids Running Series to the Twin Valley area.

Karlie Hoover and Emma Lessick, members of Cadette Troop 1441 in the Twin Valley Service Unit, decided to offer the running program as part of their Silver Award project. The Silver Award is the highest award that a Cadette Girl Scout can receive, and it can be completed individually or as a team. The project is being sponsored by the Twin Valley High School girls' cross-country team and coach Greg Linsky.

The first events in the series, held at Twin Valley Middle School (TVMS), where Karlie and Emma attend school, took place on March 26 and April 2 and 9. The final two programs in the series will take place at TVMS, 770 Clymer Hill Road, Elverson, on Sundays, April 23 and 30, at 2:30 p.m.

As part of the Healthy Kids Running Series, children are divided into age groups to compete. Children ages 2 to 3 run a 50-yard dash, and children ages 4 to 5 run a 75-yard dash. Kindergarten and first-grade students compete in the quarter-mile, while second- and third-graders run a half-mile. Children in fourth and fifth grades, as well as middle schoolers, run 1 mile.

All competitors, who must pay a registration fee to take part, will receive points based on where they finish. The boy and girl racers in each division with the most points at the series' completion will win a trophy. Medals will be awarded to every racer after the last race in the series. Race bags and T-shirts were distributed to those who registered to take part in the full series.

Before starting the program at Twin Valley, the two Cadette Scouts first had to receive permission from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, the local service unit. "We both love sports, and we like to run," said Karlie, explaining why they chose their project.

The girls had to write a proposal for the service unit, which included a timeline, because the Silver Award requires 50 service hours. "The proposal was the hardest part," noted Emma. "We kept getting emails that we needed to fix things and add things. It was really time-consuming."

Planning began in January, when the girls started advertising and promoting the series. "We made posters and hung them up in the middle school, and we went to businesses and asked them for donations," Karlie said.

The girls also created maps of the running courses and made finish line signs. During the events, they are in charge of registering the runners and encouraging them along the race course.

TVHS cross-country team members are also on hand to volunteer at the events. "(The cross-country team) is out on the course directing kids where they need to go, and, in the beginning, they do warm-up exercises," said Linsky.

Twin Valley is one chapter of the Healthy Kids Running Series, which is a national program. Half of the registration fees are given to the local coordinators. "Our portion will go to the high school girls' cross-country team to pay for invitationals and other activities," Linsky said.

The Twin Valley series has gotten off to an impressive start. More than 140 runners participated in the first event, making it the 10th-largest event in the nation that week. "It is very exciting to see the turnouts for these events," Linsky added.

For more information or to register for the last two races, readers may visit http://www.healthykidsrunningseries.org/race_locations/elverson-pa or search for "Healthy Kids Running Series - Elverson, PA" on Facebook. More information is also available by contacting Linsky at coachlinsky@gmail.com.

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